Business

The Two-Way
11:07 am
Wed March 4, 2015

UK Government Is Selling Its Share Of Eurostar

Eurostar unveiled its e320 fleet in November 2014 at St. Pancras Station in London.
Tristan Fewings Getty Images

The British government says it is selling its stake in Eurostar, the high-speed rail service linking London to Paris and Brussels. The government is selling its full 40 percent stake in the company to a group of international investors for $1.1 billion.

The move is part of an effort by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to sell a number of national assets to bring in $20 billion by the year 2020.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Spain's Wine Exports Soar 22 Percent — But Profits Fall

Spain is exporting record amounts of wine. Earlier this year, Spain's King Felipe VI, center, and Queen Letizia toasted with Freixenet president Josep Lluis Bonet during a visit to the winemaker's headquarters in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, Spain.
Susanna Saez EPA /LANDOV

Spain's wine industry had a record year in 2014, posting numbers that could propel it past Italy as the world's biggest wine exporter. Annual results from Italy have not yet been reported; last year, it was the top exporter, ahead of Spain.

The growth is due to a bumper crop at Spain's vineyards in 2013 that let it surpass France. But a Spanish industry group says that despite 22 percent annual growth in exports compared to 2013, Spain's overall wine profits fell 2 percent in the same span.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer reports:

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The Two-Way
4:43 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Federal Agents Carry Out Search For Evidence Of Illegal Support For 'Birth Tourism'

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 11:22 am

Federal agents searched more than three dozen locations across three counties in Southern California yesterday for evidence of "maternity tourism" operations.

Maternity tourism — or birth tourism — is when a citizen of another country travels to the U.S. to give birth, so the child automatically receives U.S. citizenship.

That in itself is not illegal. But federal authorities are investigating several businesses that may be breaking the law by helping wealthy Chinese women obtain U.S. visas under false pretenses.

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NPR News Investigations
3:04 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Injured Workers Suffer As 'Reforms' Limit Workers' Compensation Benefits

Lupita Ramirez dresses her husband, Joel, at their home in Rialto, Calif. Joel was paralyzed from the waist down after being crushed by a pallet when he was working in a warehouse.
Patrick T. Fallon for ProPublica

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 10:43 am

Dennis Whedbee's crew was rushing to prepare an oil well for pumping on the Sweet Grass Woman lease site, a speck of dusty plains rich with crude in Mandaree, N.D.

It was getting late that September afternoon in 2012. Whedbee, a 50-year-old derrick hand, was helping another worker remove a pipe fitting on top of the well when it suddenly blew.

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NPR Ed
1:32 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Shrink The FAFSA? Good Luck With That

Shortening the FAFSA is a tall order.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 11:38 am

Look closely.

Buried deep in President Obama's 2016 budget (Page 41) is a proposal to cut up to 30 questions from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The Obama administration has already done a lot to make the FAFSA easier — if not shorter. Online technology now allows students to skip questions that don't apply to them.

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NPR Ed
12:19 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Prepare For 'The End Of College': Here's What Free Higher Ed Looks Like

Kevin Carey'€™s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Amanda Gaines Courtesy of Riverhead

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 2:58 pm

A lot of parents start worrying about paying for college education soon after their child is born. After that, there's the stressful process of applying to colleges, and then, for those lucky enough to get admitted into a good college, there's college debt.

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The Salt
11:18 am
Tue March 3, 2015

From War To Plow: Why USDA Wants Veterans To Take Up Farming

Three years ago, Air Force veteran Sara Creech quit her job as a nurse and bought a 43-acre farm in North Salem, Ind. She named her farm Blue Yonder Organic.
John Wendle for Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 2:26 pm

Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees: apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.

And then she bought her first chickens.

"A lot of people call chickens the gateway animal," says Creech, who lives in rural North Salem, Ind. "Like once you have a chicken on the farm, then you end up getting sheep on the farm, and then you end up getting horses, and cows. And then it just explodes from there."

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U.S.
1:41 am
Tue March 3, 2015

States Face Correctional Officer Shortage Amid A Cultural Stigma

Corrections officer Sgt. Charles Galaviz secures an inmate for transfer with handcuffs and shackles Jan. 24 at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center, in Lexington, Okla. Overtime is mandatory for correctional officers in the state's prisons, which have a manpower shortage of about 33 percent and the highest inmate homicide rate in the country.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 12:40 pm

More than 1.3 million people are incarcerated in state prisons in this country, and keeping those prisons running requires tens of thousands of corrections officers. But right now, some states are facing major staffing shortages.

Much of this shortfall is because of the strong economy, but recruiters also are struggling with the job's cultural stigma.

Cadets at Wyoming's Department of Corrections Training Academy are practicing how they'll handcuff prisoners. In a few weeks this scenario will be very real, but right now everyone is pretty relaxed.

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Economy
1:39 am
Tue March 3, 2015

In Houston, Falling Oil Prices Spark Fears Of Job Cuts Beyond Energy

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 10:19 am

In recent weeks, the price of gasoline has ticked up but regular unleaded still costs about a dollar less than it did a year ago. That's good for consumers, who have more money to spend. But in Houston, one way or another, the paychecks consumers depend on come from the oil business.

The world's three biggest oilfield service firms — Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes — have announced a combined 22,000 layoffs in recent months. Those job cuts are worldwide, but many are falling in Houston, where all three companies have headquarters.

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Author Interviews
1:36 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Ever Cheat At Monopoly? So Did Its Creator: He Stole The Idea From A Woman

Charles Darrow sold Monopoly to Parker Bros. in the 1930s.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 3:00 pm

Monopoly can be pretty addictive once you start playing it, right? Well, for author and journalist Mary Pilon, searching for the game's true origins proved just as consuming. She writes:

"In the process of reporting this story, I hacked off over a foot of hair in one anguished swoop, sold off many of my material possessions, was confronted by law enforcement for falling asleep in public places ... found Monopoly money in my linens when doing laundry, fretted about finances, [and] had nightmares about the various aspects of the story. ..."

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The Two-Way
8:06 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Seattle Cuts Public Transportation Fares For Low-Income Commuters

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 11:06 pm

Yesterday, Seattle began offering some commuters lower fares for public transit based on their income. Individuals making less than $23,340 a year and families of four making less than $47,700 annually now qualify for a program called ORCA LIFT, which will give users rates of $1.50 per ride, less than half of usual peak fares. [ORCA stands for "One Regional Card For All."]

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All Tech Considered
2:58 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Free Wi-Fi On Buses Offers A Link To Future Of 'Smart Cities'

More than 600 Porto city buses and taxis have been fitted with routers to provide free Wi-Fi service. It's being touted as the biggest Wi-Fi-in-motion network in the world.
Sérgio Rodrigues Veniam

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 11:43 am

Board any city bus in Portugal's second-largest municipality, Porto, and you've got free Wi-Fi. More than 600 city buses and taxis have been fitted with wireless routers, creating what's touted as the biggest Wi-Fi-in-motion network in the world.

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Economy
2:58 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Increase In Subprime Car Loans Could Lead To Trouble

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:38 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Digital Life
2:58 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Wi-Fi Everywhere May Let You Roam Free From Your Mobile Carrier

The sun sets as a visitor uses his mobile phone Monday during the opening day of the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Wall Street Journal reporter Ryan Knutson — interviewed from the conference Monday via Skype by NPR's Robert Siegel — says that for some smartphone users, Wi-Fi may be able to replace most of the functionality of a cellphone carrier.
Josep Lago AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 5:40 pm

To get the most out of your smartphone, do you really need a cellphone plan? That's the question Wall Street Journal reporter Ryan Knutson tried to answer recently, when he spent a month relying only on Wi-Fi networks for his mobile data and voice needs.

The results: By making some sacrifices and adjustments to your routine, you can get almost as much out of your smartphone, with a monthly bill of $0.

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All Tech Considered
1:18 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Tinder's Premium Dating App Will Cost You More If You're Older

Tinder is launching Tinder Plus, a new version of its app with added features including the ability to have another look at a potential match you swiped away.
Tinder

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:39 pm

Tinder, the immensely popular dating app that lets users pick a potential match with just the swipe of a finger, launched a paid version this week in 140 countries. But there's a catch: Your age will determine how much you pay.

Tinder told NPR that U.S. users will pay $9.99 for Tinder Plus if they're under 30, and $19.99 per month if they're 30 or older. U.K. users between the ages of 18 and 27 will be charged 3.99 pounds per month, and users 28 and older will be charged 14.99 pounds per month.

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The Salt
12:55 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Your Grandparents Spent More Of Their Money On Food Than You Do

In 2013, Americans on average spent 5.6 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food they consumed at home.
April L. Brown ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:56 pm

When admiring such enticing items at the grocery store as an avocado for $1.50, an $8 chocolate bar or fresh wild Alaskan salmon for $20 a pound, you've probably experienced sticker shock.

Indeed, retailers and restaurants offer myriad opportunities to blow your food budget in one fell swoop.

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Parallels
12:18 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

A New Front In The Ukrainian Conflict: Russian Gas Imports

Workers stand next to a gas pipeline not far from the central Ukrainian city of Poltava in June 2014. Ukraine imports much of its gas from Russia, which is once again threatening to cut off supplies in a dispute over payments.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:38 pm

Ukraine faces a trio of crises — war, bankruptcy, and now, the threat that its people may have the heat turned off for the rest of winter.

Russia is once again threatening to cut off shipments of natural gas to Ukraine — and hinting that fuel supplies to Europe could be disrupted as well.

Energy ministers from Russia and Ukraine are holding emergency talks in Brussels mediated by the European Union.

It's an issue for the entire continent. About 40 percent of EU gas imports come from Russia, and half of that is delivered by pipelines that cross Ukraine.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Wages And Prices: A Welcome Breakup

Bigger paychecks plus lower prices add up to more buying power for consumers.
DNY59 iStockphoto

A new government report confirms: Wages and prices are going their separate ways.

This breakup is helping consumers on the rebound from recession.

Fresh evidence of the split came Monday in the Commerce Department's monthly report on personal spending, income and saving. It showed paychecks are fatter, prices are leaner and Americans are saving more.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Nasdaq Index Hits 5,000 For First Time Since 2000

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 5:23 pm

Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET

The Nasdaq composite index returned to territory it hasn't seen since the heyday of the dot-com boom, closing above the 5,000 mark Monday. The index hit the mark nearly 15 years to the day since it surpassed the 5,000 mark on March 9, 2000.

We'll note that the index didn't have far to rise from Friday's close of 4,963.53.

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Business
3:17 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Architect Turns Old Cleveland Bank Into Heinen's Supermarket

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 6:15 am

Copyright 2015 Cleveland Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.wcpn.org.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
3:08 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Orlando Considers Hiring Private Airport Screeners

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 6:15 am

Copyright 2015 WMFE-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wmfe.org.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:01 am
Mon March 2, 2015

People With Low Incomes Say They Pay A Price In Poor Health

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 5:39 am

When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money.

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U.S.
1:58 am
Mon March 2, 2015

A Nearly Recession-Proof City Is Not Slowing Down

Lincoln has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in revitalizing its downtown, a historic area called Haymarket, to create a more culturally vibrant urban center that is helping the city keep and attract young adults.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 6:15 am

At 2.5 percent, Lincoln, Neb., has one of the lowest jobless figures in the country. But that's nothing new — the city has ranked at or near the top of the nation, with one of the lowest unemployment rates for years, even during the Great Recession.

But on a recent visit, it's clear that Lincoln is not resting on its laurels. It's working hard at keeping and drawing talent to this city of nearly 300,000.

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The Salt
3:56 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Italian Cheese Lovers Find Their Bovine Match Through 'Adopt A Cow'

In exchange for a fee of 60 euros, members of Adopt A Cow get an assortment of aged and soft cheeses made from the milk of cows like Mery.
Christopher Livesay for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 1:07 pm

Foodies have long savored the cheeses of the Italian Alps. Dairy farmers still make it by hand, but unless you live in the region or can travel there, you'll have a hard time getting your hands on it. Much of this precious cheese isn't exported.

As you might imagine, this has not been good for business and the Alpine cheese makers have been slowly disappearing. That is until some farmers banded together — with the help of the Internet — and came up with an unusual adoption program called Adopt A Cow.

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Planet Money
2:44 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

How The Electronic Spreadsheet Revolutionized Business

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 6:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
9:18 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Fines Remain Rare Even As Health Data Breaches Multiply

ProPublica

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 12:25 pm

In a string of meetings and press releases, the federal government's health watchdogs have delivered a stern message: They are cracking down on insurers, hospitals and doctors offices that don't adequately protect the security and privacy of medical records.

"We've now moved into an area of more assertive enforcement," Leon Rodriguez, then-director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, warned at a privacy and security forum in December 2012.

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NPR Ed
9:08 am
Fri February 27, 2015

A Glut Of Ph.D.s Means Long Odds Of Getting Jobs

Jorge Cham is the creator of PHD Comics and received his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper) is a comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in academia. See more of his work at www.phdcomics.com.
Jorge Cham PHD Comics

Originally published on Sun March 1, 2015 12:54 pm

This week marked National Adjunct Walkout Day, a protest to gain better working conditions for part-time college instructors. Why are college professors from San Jose State University to the City University of New York taking to the streets like fast-food workers?

They say they have something in common.

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Planet Money
3:27 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Using A Can Of Coke To Explain A Currency Lesson

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 5:42 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
2:08 am
Fri February 27, 2015

White House Move To Protect Nest Eggs Sparks Hopes And Fears

President Obama remarks on his proposal to tighten consumer protections for people saving for retirement as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Labor Secretary Tom Perez listen, at AARP on Monday.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 3:12 pm

The Obama administration is creating new protections for Americans saving and investing for retirement, but industry groups say the new rules could hurt the very people the president says he wants to help.

If you're building a retirement nest egg, big fees are the dangerous predators looking to feast on it. The White House says too many financial advisers get hidden kickbacks or sales incentives to steer responsible Americans toward bad retirement investments with low returns and high fees.

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All Tech Considered
12:20 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Long Before Net Neutrality, Rules Leveled The Landscape For Phone Services

Operators at a Bell System telephone switchboard, as photographed by the Department of Labor Women's Bureau.
U.S. National Archives

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 6:59 am

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate access to the Internet as it would a public utility, under something called Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Critics of the FCC say it's an old, dusty law meant to apply to phone service, not the complexities of the modern Internet. But there are some parallels to the days when Title II was enacted.

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