Business

The Two-Way
7:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Jobless Claims Bounce Up From Earlier Weeks' Low Levels

More than 3,600 people lined up to apply for about 1,000 openings at a job fair earlier this month in New Orleans.
Ted Jackson The Times-Picayune/Landov

After two straight weeks in which the figures tracked near their lowest levels in seven years, the number of first-time applications for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week.

The Employment and Training Administration says there were 329,000 such claims filed, up by 24,000 from the previous week's slightly revised figure.

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Business
4:38 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FCC Set To Change Net Neutrality Rules

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:30 am

On Thursday, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules for how broadband providers should treat the Internet traffic flowing through their networks.

Business
4:24 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Competition Watches As Wal-Mart Debuts Money Transfer Service

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:30 am

Customers will be able to send and receive up to $900 at a time at more than 4,000 U.S. stores. Analysts don't think the other money transfer clients will be hurt because of their loyal customer base.

NPR Story
3:22 am
Thu April 24, 2014

With SuperShoes, Insoles Can Be Your Guide

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:20 am

SuperShoes are squishy insoles that fit inside your shoes. Inside those insoles are "vibrotactile ticklers" linked to your mobile device. Enter a destination and the ticklers guide your way.

Business
3:22 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Mine Dust Rules Could Slow Production, Coal Mining Companies Say

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced new regulations reducing the amount of coal dust miners can be exposed to in underground and surface mines.

NPR Story
3:22 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Small Businesses Fight Big-Box Stores By Specializing

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:21 am

As online and mega stores take up more of the retail landscape, small mom-and-pop shops are getting more specific. We examine one of the ways small stores are looking to survive and possibly thrive.

Paying For College
1:37 am
Thu April 24, 2014

When Money Trumps Need In College Admissions

For many low-income students, economic trends are making the prospect of getting into the college of their choice, and reaching graduation, even more difficult.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:30 am

At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.

Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.

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Asia
1:37 am
Thu April 24, 2014

After Bangladesh Factory Disaster, Efforts Show Mixed Progress

Garment workers and relatives of Rana Plaza victims stage a demonstration on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec. 24.
Shariful Islam Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:22 am

One year ago Thursday, an eight-story factory building in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers. The disaster at Rana Plaza brought new attention to safety conditions in the country's booming garment industry.

In the year since then, some of the world's biggest retailers have begun inspecting Bangladesh's factories more aggressively. But in other ways efforts to reform the industry have fallen short.

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Shots - Health News
10:03 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

A woman tries electronic cigarettes at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 8:38 am

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday proposed regulating e-cigarettes for the first time.

The agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

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The Two-Way
4:56 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Reports: FCC Poised For Changes To Net Neutrality Policy

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:09 pm

This post was updated at 12:10 a.m. ET on Thursday. See update below for details.

The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to propose new rules when it comes to net neutrality, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are reporting based on unnamed sources.

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Shots - Health News
3:31 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Costly Hepatitis C Pill Shreds Drug Industry Sales Record

Sovaldi, a daily oral treatment for hepatitis C, costs $1,000 a pill.
Courtesy of Gilead Sciences

The launch of Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-day pill for hepatitis C, is shaping up as the most successful ever.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in December. And then Gilead Sciences was off to the races. The company said it sold $2.27 billion worth of Sovaldi in the quarter that ended March 31. $2.27 billion!

The boffo number beat Wall Street's estimate for the quarter by more than $1 billion.

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The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Brazil Becomes One Of The First To Adopt Internet 'Bill Of Rights'

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the "NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance", on Wednesday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Nelson Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff signed into law a kind of Internet bill of rights on Wednesday.

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Law
2:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Under Calif. Law With Teeth, Big-Time Lawsuits Hit Small Businesses

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires equal access to stores, offices and public places all over the country. It's a federal law. But more than 40 percent of all ADA lawsuits are filed in California, because in California the law has some extra teeth. People who sue there can get cash damages from a business that is not ADA compliant.

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Business
2:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Blockbuster Trades Are Changing The Face Of Pharmaceuticals

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing some sweeping changes so the past few days, some major deals have been announced. The first involving a trio of big named companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Ely Lily. The second is a proposed deal between Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals and California's Allergan, the maker of Botox. That deal is valued at $45 billion. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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The Salt
2:14 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Slowly And Sweetly, Vietnam's Chocolate Industry Grows

Vincent Mourou, co-founder of Vietnam's first artisan chocolate maker Marou, inspects cacao beans at a farmer's garden in Go Cong Tay district.
Hoang Dinh Nam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:51 pm

When you think about Vietnamese food, you might think of savory beef noodle soup, or endless fields of rice paddies. But chocolate?

As the world's demand for chocolate grows, Vietnam is making a bid to become one of the world's newest high quality suppliers.

Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou are two players in the country's small but growing cocoa industry. They founded Marou, an artisan chocolate company, three years ago in Ho Chi Minh City.

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All Tech Considered
10:53 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Weekly Innovation: An Inflatable Car Seat That Comes In A Backpack

Volvo's inflatable car seat is a concept and not a marketable product right now.
Courtesy of Volvo

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 3:32 pm

Forget wearables, let's talk about inflatables.

Volvo's new child safety seat concept is a fully inflatable device designed to make what's normally a clunky and heavy seat both lighter and more portable.

So compact is this prototype that it goes from a stylish-looking backpack into a rear-facing car seat in less than a minute. You can pump it in the car — the seat comes with its own pump — and it's Bluetooth-connected so you could pump it remotely.

When inflated, the seat weighs just under 11 pounds.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed April 23, 2014

American Journalist Kidnapped By Ukraine's Pro-Russia Insurgents

In a photo taken earlier this month, U.S. reporter Simon Ostrovsky stands with a pro-Russian gunman at a seized police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk. Ostrovsky has reportedly been seized by the pro-Russian insurgents.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:34 pm

An American journalist operating in eastern Ukraine has been kidnapped by pro-Russian gunmen, the separatists said Wednesday.

Simon Ostrovsky, working for Vice News, was seized at gunpoint early Tuesday by masked men in the restive eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.

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Shots - Health News
5:40 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:23 am

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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Law
4:16 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Networks Tell Supreme Court Aereo Steals Their Content

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts in the cloud.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Our tech reporting team has its head in the cloud this week. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in a case concerning over-the-air television being stored in the cloud. A start-up company called Aereo lets customers access broadcast TV shows through computers, smartphones and tablets. Protesters say they're stealing content.

Here's NPR's Steve Henn.

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Education
3:54 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Income Inequality Is A Major Barrier To Attending College

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:45 am

Morning Edition co-host David Greene talks to Suzanne Mettler of Cornell University, author of the new book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream.

NPR Story
3:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Urban Libraries Become De Facto Homeless Shelters

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Whether they like it or not, libraries in some cities serve as homeless shelters. People come off the streets to find quiet and warmth. If libraries want to do something about this, they have some choices: They can put homeless visitors back out on the street. San Francisco libraries want to get them back on their feet.

Scott Shafer reports from member station KQED.

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NPR Story
3:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Haagen-Dazs Experiments With Veggie Ice Cream

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:02 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our last word in business is: Veggie Ice Cream.

Japanese parents trying to get their kids to eat vegetables can skip to desert.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Haagen-Dazs is testing vegetable-flavored ice cream in Japan. Flavors include tomato cherry and carrot orange.

Education
3:03 am
Wed April 23, 2014

One Approach To Head Start: To Help Kids, Help Their Parents

Tiffany Contreras walks her daughter Kyndall, 4, to preschool at Disney Elementary in Tulsa, Okla.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:48 am

President Obama has called repeatedly on Congress to help states pay for "high-quality preschool" for all. In fact, those two words — "high quality" — appear time and again in the president's prepared remarks. They are also a refrain among early childhood education advocates and researchers. But what do they mean? And what separates the best of the nation's preschool programs from the rest?

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All Tech Considered
2:33 am
Wed April 23, 2014

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet

A Google data center in Oklahoma is shown. Google recently slashed prices for its cloud services; Amazon responded by cutting its cloud prices.
Connie Zhou AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:02 am

This week, our tech reporting team is exploring cloud computing — the big business of providing computing power and data storage that companies need, but which happens out of sight, as if it's "in the cloud."

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U.S.
2:31 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Subminimum Wages For The Disabled: Godsend Or Exploitation?

Workers shrink-wrap products at the Sertoma Centre outside Chicago. Sertoma provides employment opportunities to about 250 people with disabilities through subcontracting jobs.
Courtesy of Sertoma Centre

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:00 am

The president recently signed an executive order raising the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 for workers employed by federal contractors — including those with disabilities.

That's a victory for disabled workers who can make just pennies per hour at so-called sheltered workplaces.

While some call sheltered workshops a godsend, others say they are examples of good intentions gone wrong.

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The Salt
2:20 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:05 pm

At a time when fast-food workers make an average of about $9 an hour, what are the chief executives bringing home?

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.

Chipotle's CEO took home $13.8 million in total compensation. And McDonald's CEO compensation totaled $7.7 million. (Compensation includes salary, bonus and the value of exercised options.)

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All Tech Considered
2:16 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Online Sales Taxes Shift Consumer Behavior, Study Shows

Monica Chavez packs up a box at an Amazon.com fulfillment center Dec. 2, in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:38 pm

Technically, consumers are supposed to pay taxes on things they buy online. In fact, few do.

Congress is considering a bill called the Marketplace Fairness Act that would force many online sellers to collect sales taxes for the first time.

In the meantime, some states have already enacted so-called Amazon taxes, forcing the giant online retailer to collect sales taxes the same way traditional brick-and-mortar stores do.

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Business
12:47 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Monday BusinessWatch

  Every Monday at 7:51am on Morning Edition, Fred Martino covers the week's top local business stories with Las Cruces Sun News Business Editor Brook Stockberger.  Subscribe to our podcast on the right side of this page so you never miss a segment.

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Shots - Health News
9:03 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Change Your Income, Change Your Health Insurance Plan

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:46 am

People who qualified for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily locked into the plan they chose. And that can be good news for people whose income fluctuates during the year. Here's our response to the latest reader questions on coverage through the health exchanges.

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Business
6:13 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Netflix To Raise New Customers' Subscription Rates

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the rising cost of Netflix.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The online video provider will raise the price of its subscriptions by one or two dollars over the next few months. This only affects new subscribers for now. Current subscribers won't see a rate hike for at least a year.

CEO Reed Hastings says the higher fees will increase the number of TV shows and movies Netflix offers and improve video streaming. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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