Business

The Two-Way
5:21 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

GM Stays At The Top As U.S. Car Sales Surge In July

Sales of GM's cars slid by 3.8 percent from July 1013, but its light trucks and SUVs, like this Buick Enclave, more than made up for it, spiking 17.5 percent.
AP

Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.

Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.

GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.

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Business
2:14 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Some Public Pension Funds Making Big Bets On Hedge Funds

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 5:27 pm

Public pension funds have been doing something new in recent years — investing in hedge funds.

Hedge funds are often secretive investment firms led by supposedly supersmart fund managers. Though, sometimes they implode spectacularly — think Long-Term Capital Management. Another prominent firm, Galleon Group, recently got shut down for rampant insider trading.

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The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

President Obama Slams Congress As He Welcomes Economy's Gains

President Barack Obama upbraided Congress Friday, saying that lawmakers haven't done enough to help America's economic recovery.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Touting rosy U.S. economic news that has come out this week, President Obama said America's recovery from a debilitating recession is well underway. But he also said the economy "could be doing even better" if Congress were working harder.

Citing the 200,000 jobs created in July – continuing a six-month streak of at least that level – Obama noted that it was "the first time that has happened since 1997."

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Restaurant's 'Prayer Discount' Sparks Mix Of Praise, Anger

Yuri Arcurs iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 2:42 pm

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET.

When Jordan Smith got her tab after breakfast at Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, N.C., she was pleasantly surprised to find a 15 percent discount — for "praying in public."

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The Salt
10:47 am
Fri August 1, 2014

These Ivory Coast Cacao Farmers Had Never Tasted Chocolate

A laborer rakes cacao beans on a plantation in Toumokro, Ivory Coast in 2008.
Issouf Sanogo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 2:04 pm

A bittersweet YouTube video is making the rounds this week showing cacao farmers — some of the most impoverished in the world — enjoying chocolate for the very first time.

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Economy
9:52 am
Fri August 1, 2014

As Labor Market Advances, Millions Are Stuck In Part-Time Jobs

People attend a hiring fair for veterans in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 16. About 7.5 million people in the U.S. are working less than 40 hours per week even though they want full-time jobs.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 2:18 pm

Treading water in July is really fun — if you happen to be in a swimming pool.

But if you find yourself stuck in the part-time labor pool, drifting is disappointing.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that while employers hired 209,000 workers in July, the growth rate was not strong enough to push part-timers forward.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Unemployment Ticks Up To 6.2 Percent; 209,000 Jobs Added

Construction workers building a commercial complex Thursday in Springfield, Ill., earlier this month. The sector has been on a gradual rebound following a devastating hit during the housing collapse in 2008.
Seth Perlman AP

The nation's unemployment rate moved up a bit in the month of July, to 6.2 percent, as more Americans who'd been sitting on the sidelines started looking for work, according to the latest monthly report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs, a bit less than economists had expected.

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Business
5:14 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Small French Company Challenges Telecom Titans For T-Mobile

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
5:14 am
Fri August 1, 2014

July Jobs Report Less Stellar Than June's, But Still Strong

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 10:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
4:46 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Everyone Goes To The Store To Get Milk. So Why's It Way In The Back?

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 5:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
4:05 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Never Mind The Cronut. Now There's An Ice Cream Sundae In A Can

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 5:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Business
4:05 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Minnesota's Minimum-Wage Workers Get 75-Cent Increase

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 5:48 am

Copyright 2014 Minnesota Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.mpr.org/.

Business
3:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Tensions Stir At EPA Hearings On New Emission Rules

Some 5,000 union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America, march outside the William S. Moorhead Federal Building on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The city hosted two days of public hearings by the Environmental Protection Agency on stricter pollution rules for coal-burning power plants.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 5:14 am

The coal industry made its presence known in Pittsburgh this week for public hearings on President Obama's controversial plan to address climate change. A key element is rules the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June. They would cut greenhouse gas emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide — from existing power plants. The national goal is 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

A corn purchaser writes on his account in northwest China in 2012. In November 2013, officials began rejecting imports of U.S. corn when they detected traces of a new gene not yet approved in China.
Peng Zhaozhi Xinhua/Landov

For a while there, China was the American farmer's best friend. The world's most populous nation had so many pigs and chickens to feed, it became one of the top importers of U.S. corn and soybeans almost overnight.

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All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Weekly Innovation: 3-D Printed Fashion For Your Feet

"Myth" is Continuum's flagship, 3-D printed shoe collection. Continuum is based in New York City.
Continuum

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:51 pm

This post is part of our Weekly Innovation series, in which we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Dow Dives 317 Points, Erasing A Month Of Gains

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 3:43 pm

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 317 points today, closing at 16,563, wiping out the index's gains for the month of July.

The Nasdaq fell 93 points, closing at 4,369. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 2 percent to 1,930.

It was the worst daily decline since April and the first monthly drop since January.

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Shots - Health News
2:20 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Amid Smoking Decline, Look Who's Still Lighting Up

Tobacco giant Reynolds American is buying Lorillard and acquiring Newport, a popular menthol cigarette. In a shrinking market, Newport is one of the few U.S. brands gaining market share. It is particularly popular among African-American smokers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:07 pm

Robin Koval is making a career of her changed tobacco habit.

"I'm a child of a smoker — my father was a heavy smoker," Koval says. "Really typical to the way the story goes, I started smoking when I was 15."

Now she is president and CEO of Legacy, a foundation devoted to preventing tobacco use.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

On The Eve Of A Possible Lockout, Met Opera Talks Remain Contentious

A worker unveils posters Tuesday for the coming season of New York's Metropolitan Opera. The Met's fall schedule could be in jeopardy if failed labor negotiations result in a lockout Friday.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

At the Metropolitan Opera, drama is usually onstage. But for the past several months, it's been in the newspapers.

Contract deadlines for 15 of the 16 unions at the Met in New York are set to expire at midnight tonight, and negotiations will likely go down to the wire. A lockout shutting down the world's largest opera house seems imminent.

Management wants concessions from the unions to offset dwindling ticket sales. Union employees think they're being asked to pay for unchecked spending.

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Business
4:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Send Your Dearly Departed Dog Into Space

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Our last word in Business Today is all dogs go to space.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Commercial flight is an industry still in its infancy, though, for several years humans have been able to blast off in the afterlife.

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Business
4:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Senate Antitrust Panel Eyes Contact Lens Pricing Policies

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Food
3:53 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Red Robin's 'Monster' Burger Wins Xtreme Eating Awards

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Sports
3:09 am
Thu July 31, 2014

A Prospective Pro Athletes' Backup Plan? Pit Crewing For NASCAR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 WFAE-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wfae.org.

NPR Story
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Argentina Is In Default. What Does That Actually Mean?

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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The Salt
4:33 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others

Bulleit is one of 50 different brands a food blogger says is using whiskey from an Indiana factory.
Mike McCune/Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 5:38 pm

It's a good time to be a whiskey maker, and craft whiskeys are all the rage, with names like Bulleit, Redemption, Templeton and George Dickel.

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Economy
4:02 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Job Worries Linger, But The Economy Is Looking Good

Assembly-line workers at the Chrysler plant in Sterling Heights, Mich. The economy is getting good marks in the latest data, but some worries about the job market continue.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 4:28 pm

Five years after the Great Recession ended, where are we with this recovery?

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department and the Federal Reserve both answered by saying, in effect:

We're in a sweet spot — growing at a decent rate with good reason for optimism.

Or as the Fed blandly put it, "economic activity will expand at a moderate pace."

President Obama, speaking on the economy in Kansas City, Mo., was more effusive.

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Theater
3:37 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Why Are Theater Tickets Cheaper On The West End Than On Broadway?

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 5:07 pm

It's a Wednesday afternoon in London and a bunch of kids are standing outside a West End theater, giddily unaware that their parents have just shelled out a lot of money for the experience they're about to have. A giant sign over their heads shows a silhouette of a girl standing on a swing, her hair flying behind her in the wind — it's a matinee performance of Matilda.

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Around the Nation
3:04 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Grocery Chain Workers Want Their CEO Back

Rank-and-file Market Basket employees show support for ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
Curt Nickisch WBUR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:27 am

If your boss was fired, would you walk off the job in protest?

That's what's happening at the New England grocery store chain Market Basket, which has 25,000 employees. Business at Market Basket stores has slowed to a trickle as workers disrupt operations, stage protests and ask shoppers to stay away.

They say CEO Arthur T. Demoulas treats them well, and they want him reinstated.

Outside the Market Basket store in Somerville, Mass., a dozen workers wave protest signs as cars honk in support. Gabriel Pinto, a bagger, says he wants the new top executives gone.

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Judge Orders Bank Of America To Pay $1.3 Billion Fine

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara applauded a judge's ruling in a major fraud case.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 3:08 pm

A federal judge has ordered Bank of America to pay a $1.27 billion fine for fraud perpetrated by Countrywide Financial Corp., a mortgage company the bank acquired in 2008.

Last October, a jury held Bank of America liable for bad loans Countrywide sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of its "Hustle" mortgage-lending program as the housing market soured in 2007 and 2008.

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All Tech Considered
1:07 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of "things in the world that matter to human beings," says Alexis Madrigal.
Pinterest

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 2:33 pm

The Pinterest interface is simple: Just click a button, and any Web page gets broken down into its constituent images. Any of those can be added to your own set of images, known on Pinterest as a board. Other people can find those boards and copy what they like — or simply search through all the photos on the site.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Fed Continues To Scale Back Economic Stimulus

Earlier this month, Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress that the economy is improving but hasn't bounced back all the way.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 2:29 pm

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will ease up slightly on its efforts to stimulate the economy.

Fed officials said that there is still room for improvement in the labor market, but with the economy growing, they expressed concern that inflation might start ticking up.

Continuing its own recent trend, the Fed announced it will be buying up fewer financial assets. It's on track to end its bond-buying program in October.

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