Business

The Two-Way
11:37 am
Mon July 28, 2014

It May Be Summer, But For Economists, This Week Feels Like Christmas

Chiang Ying-ying AP

This week is summer's sweet spot — the peak time for pool parties, fresh-picked berries and cool drinks. But for economists, it may feel more like Christmas — so much to unwrap!

Each day will bring new decisions and reports that could have a big impact on the nation's economy. So economists, investors and workers will have plenty to ponder. Here's what's happening this week:

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Money Coach
10:22 am
Mon July 28, 2014

In Times Of Transition, Get Practical About Your Finances

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

The Two-Way
8:28 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Dollar Tree To Buy Family Dollar In $8.5 Billion Deal

People shop outside of a Family Dollar discount store in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

With Dollar Tree's agreement to purchase Family Dollar on Monday, two of the United States' biggest discount stores are coming together in a deal estimated at $8.5 billion in cash and stock.

The New York Times reports:

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Business
6:12 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Ice Cream Sandwich That Wouldn't Melt

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 8:40 am

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

Business
4:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

U.K. Launches Licensing For Onshore Oil And Gas Exploration

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:19 am

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

Europe
4:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

More Than Half Of Spaniards In Their 20s Are Unemployed

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 8:12 am

Even though Spain's economy is out of recession, youth unemployment has hit 57.7 percent — more than double the continent's average. Economists say it could be years before jobs return. By then, many Spanish 20-somethings — dubbed the "lost generation" — will have missed a decade or more of work.

Latin America
4:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Locked In U.S. Hedge Fund Battle, Argentina Faces Default

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

NPR Story
3:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Depends Promotes Pants-Dropping For 'Underwearness'

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:37 am

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

The Salt
3:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

A worker dries coffee beans at a coffee plantation in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, in February 2013.
Moises Castillo AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 11:09 am

Outside the northern Guatemalan town of Olopa, near the Honduran border, farmer Edwin Fernando Diaz Viera stands in the middle of his tiny coffee field. He says it was his lifelong dream to own a farm here. The area is renowned for producing some of the world's richest Arabica, the smooth-tasting beans beloved by specialty coffee brewers.

"My farm was beautiful, it was big," he says.

But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.

"Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," he says.

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Law
3:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

Volunteers at the Lincoln Memorial help roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the Constitution during an October 2010 demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 11:34 am

Are corporations people? The U.S. Supreme Court says they are, at least for some purposes. And in the past four years, the high court has dramatically expanded corporate rights.

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Your Money
6:12 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Labels: Easy To Read, Not Always Easy To Trust

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 9:42 am

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

Business
12:52 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

This Traffic Backup Brought To You By ...

Commuters in major U.S. cities spend an average of 2.5 days a year stuck in traffic. Some companies are capitalizing on that time and offering drivers money for renting out their bumper space to advertisers.
Damian Dovarganes AP

With the advent of the "sharing economy" and successful peer-to-peer ventures like Airbnb and RelayRides, it is now possible for millions to turn a quick buck by renting out underused assets like a spare guest room or a even a dog that needs walking.

But many of us who endure long car rides to work each day have another asset that we may have been too frazzled, bored or fatigued to appreciate — even though it trails us almost everywhere we go: our car's bumper.

Traffic Problems

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Sports
8:33 am
Sat July 26, 2014

NFL Faces Criticism Over Ray Rice Suspension From Ravens

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 11:32 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
7:23 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Tech Week: Industry Diversity, Digital Afterlives, Net Neutrality

Twitter released a scorecard showing its workforce — like other major tech firms — is largely male and white.
Jeff Chiu AP

What happened in technology this week, you ask? Here's a roundup of the tech stories reported by NPR and others since you last checked in.

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NPR Story
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

If All The Ice Melts, What Happens To Hockey?

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 11:32 am

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

Simon Says
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Happy Birthday To Amazon, And Its Data Mining

Amazon celebrates 20 years of selling everything from A to Z...and 20 years of mining customer data.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 9:15 pm

Amazon is now 20 years old!

In 1994, Jeff Bezos walked out of the Wall Street hedge fund where he worked after they declined to invest in his idea, and began to sell books out of his garage.

Today, Amazon is a retail and entertainment empire, selling books and shoes, computers, overcoats, band saws, sofa beds, kimchi, canned beans, artwork, wine, grills, generators, drones, kitty litter, pool filter pumps and garden gnomes, etc., etc., and more.

Type in "kitchen sink"- you'll find dozens.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Bill Allowing Americans To Unlock Cellphones Passes House, Heads To Obama

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 3:49 pm

Approving a bill that has already passed the Senate, the House of Representatives has given its consent to legislation that lets U.S. consumers "unlock" their cellphones, rather than having them remain linked to specific service providers.

President Obama says he will sign the bill into law, applauding Congress today for taking "another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cellphone carrier that meets their needs and their budget."

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The Salt
2:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Can Finishing A Big Bowl Of Ramen Make Dreams Come True?

At Yume Wo Katare, eating ramen is treated as a path to personal fulfillment.
Andrea Shea for WBUR

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 8:48 am

You can find ramen, the Japanese noodle soup that's meant to be slurped, almost anywhere in the U.S. these days. Ramen shops continue to pop up, and you can find renditions on the menus of restaurants and gastropubs.

But there's a truly funky noodle spot in Cambridge called Yume Wo Katare that serves more than just ramen.

There aren't many restaurants where you get praised by everyone around you for clearing your plate or bowl. But that's exactly what happens at Yume Wo Katare.

"Everyone, he did a good job!"

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The Salt
2:44 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Key Chain Blood-Alcohol Testing May Make Quantified Drinking Easy

The BACTrack Vio keychain breathalyzer and app on the iPhone at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. A public health researcher says tools like this could help people make better decisions about alcohol use.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 5:36 pm

While testing whether a dash of yeast could keep you from getting drunk, we discovered that it's pretty entertaining — and revealing — to track your blood alcohol while drinking.

Using a device to test blood-alcohol levels, we watched the alcohol in our bodies soar as we drank two beers on empty stomachs. And we noticed there's a place on the curve — about 0.04 or 0.05 BAC — when the buzz is the sweetest.

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Planet Money
9:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

When Do Chefs And Doctors Buy Generic?

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 10:41 am

Pharmacists and doctors are more likely than the general public to buy generic medicine, as we reported last year. And chefs are more likely than the general public to buy generic food.

The economists who figured this stuff out recently published a new update (PDF) to their research, which caught our eye.

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Sports
5:13 am
Fri July 25, 2014

At Jaguars' New Stadium, Come For The Football Or The Swimming

Hi, Mom! EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, recently installed a massive video display. This artist's rendering previews the giant screen, which will be unveiled on Saturday.
Courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 9:22 am

In Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, the Jaguars football team will unveil what it's calling the world's largest video display at a stadium. The team also has added luxury cabanas, where fans can watch the game poolside — improvements that are designed to get the beleaguered team's fans off their couches and into the stadium.

When team officials announced they were adding swimming pools to the stadium, some dismissed it as a gimmick. The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't been to the playoffs since 2007, and the team has been the butt of many a football joke.

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Business
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

PETA Offers To Pay Detroit Residents' Water Bills If They Go Vegan

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

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

Business
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

All Of The Major U.S. Airlines Report Strong 2nd-Quarter Earnings

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Amazon Reports $126 Million Quarterly Loss

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Planet Money
5:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Self-Published Authors Make A Living — And Sometimes A Fortune

The cover of Michael Bunker's self published book Pennsylvania Omnibus.
Michael Bunker

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 11:32 am

Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.

"But now," says Dana Beth Weinberg, a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, "the self-published authors walk into the room, and they say, oh, well, 'I made a quarter million dollars last year, or $100,000, or made $10,000.' And it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts."

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

Food companies spend a lot of time and resources coming up with the perfect plastic packaging to keep their products fresh.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 1:51 pm

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on the go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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Business
1:33 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

4 Theories About Why Wal-Mart Changed Its U.S. Chief

Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, is leaving the retail giant after being passed over for the company's top post.
Rick Wilking Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 2:23 pm

Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, is leaving the retail giant, the company said Thursday.

Any major shake-up at Wal-Mart is closely watched because the company is so important — it tops the Fortune 500 list with annual sales approaching a half-trillion dollars. So lots of people are speculating about what Simon's departure really means. Here are some theories:

The Simplest Explanation

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Book News: Amazon Exec Says Hachette Is Using Authors 'As Human Shields'

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:44 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Business
5:39 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Rural Startups, Often Overlooked, Are The Focus Of New Investment Programs

Copyright 2014 North Country Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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