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Japan is venturing further into the terra incognito of negative interest rates, selling a 10-year government bond that actually costs its purchasers money over time.

In doing so, Japan joins a handful of European countries that have also lowered rates below zero.

The yield on the 10-year note sold by the Bank of Japan dipped to an unprecedented level of negative .05 percent, meaning that anyone who buys it will lose money.

The international trade in exotic animal parts includes rhino horn, seahorses, and bear gall bladders. But perhaps none is as strange as the swim bladder from a giant Mexican fish called the totoaba.

The totoaba can grow to the size of a football player. It lives only in the Gulf of California in Mexico, along with the world's smallest and rarest mammal — a type of porpoise called the vaquita.

It's a Saturday night. Five couples sit sipping cocktails and beers. From the kitchen, the smell of ginger, fish oil and lime wafts into the dining room. Chef Josh Haynes is there preparing one of his signature recipes: a red curry of pumpkin and pork rib.

It could be a hip restaurant, except this is Haynes' apartment. In his small living room, with space for only two tables, 10 strangers eat his homemade Thai food.

President Obama unveils his 2017 budget proposal today. It's an aspirational blueprint that details how he would set priorities if he controlled the government's checkbook ... which he doesn't.

"This budget is not about looking back at the road we have traveled," Obama said. "It is about looking forward."

But congressional Republicans are looking past the president. House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the budget as "a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans."

There's never a shortage of questions about the twists and turns of health coverage. Here are answers to recent questions from readers about premium tax credit repayments for marketplace plans, out-of-network emergency care and nursing home bills.

Hit by a string of scandals over food safety controls, McDonald's business in Japan has posted its worst annual results since going public 15 years ago. The company reported a net loss of 34.704 billion yen — around $303 million.

Last year, sales at McDonald's Japan stores were down around 15 percent from 2014, the company says. The Japanese unit has now reported a net loss for two years in a row, the result of a sequence of scandals.

Farm Contractors Balk At Obamacare Requirements

19 hours ago

Obamacare is putting the agricultural industry in a tizzy.

Many contractors who provide farm labor and must now offer workers health insurance are complaining loudly about the cost in their already low-margin business.

Some are also concerned that the forms they must file with the federal government under the Affordable Care Act will bring immigration problems to the fore. About half of the farm labor workforce in the U.S. is undocumented.

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The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters.

The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems.

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Out for dinner with a group of friends, Christina Dierkes, a science writer with Ohio Sea Grant in Columbus, was feeling adventurous. It took some steely courage to order the Caribbean Roll at Mr. Sushi's. Not so much for the tuna and avocado on the inside — that's a combination that's appealing to many of us. But the tuna sushi in this spectacularly Americanized roll is topped with a deep-fried banana, honey, mayonnaise and a generous dash of coconut crumbs. Yum?

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may have taken an extended paternity leave after the birth of his daughter, but generally, American men do not take more than a few days. Ninety-six percent of American men are back to work within two weeks of a baby's birth.

Iran and Boeing go way back. Boeing was the largest supplier of civilian aircraft to Iran before the country's 1979 Islamic revolution. And despite the fraught relations between the U.S. and Iran since then, Iran has kept flying those planes for decades.

As part of the recent Iranian nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, Boeing is once again permitted to sell planes to the Islamic Republic. And Iran desperately wants to start replacing its fleet of aging, worn-out commercial aircraft.

In 2009, one of the founders of the online eyeglass maker Warby Parker approached management consultant Adam Grant about becoming an early investor. Grant says he declined because the company's founders weren't working at their startup full time; he also says it was the worst financial decision he's ever made.

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There was a time when it felt like Keurig coffee pods were going to take over the world — or at least encircle it.

But now sales are on the decline, down some $60 million from last year.

The company has faced criticism because the individual coffee pods are not kind to the environment. But Venessa Wong with BuzzFeed says that's not the only factor that's contributed to the decline in sales.

Emily Martin created a state-by-state map of the gender wage gap in the United States. She calculated: Washington, D.C., has the smallest wage gap where women average nearly 90 cents to a man's dollar; Louisiana has the largest gap — women there earn just 65 percent of what men do.

Nationally, women earn an average 79 cents for every dollar men do. The gender wage gap is even wider for black and Hispanic women.

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With all the recent controversy around the cost of prescription drugs, we got to wondering how exactly do companies decide how much they should charge for a drug? So we asked NPR health policy correspondent Alison Kodjak to look into it.

The jobs numbers are in: 150,000 jobs were added to the economy in January. That's fewer than expected, though the unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low.

President Obama took the opportunity this morning to take a shot at some of his more vocal opponents.

"The United States of America, right now, has strongest, most durable economy in the world," he said. "I know that's still inconvenient for GOP stump speeches, as their 'Doom And Despair' tour plays in New Hampshire — I guess you cannot please everybody."

The cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi can help people with specific genetic mutations breathe better, but treatment with the pill comes with a hefty sticker price — $259,000 a year.

Orkambi, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last July, is expected to take almost $36 million from California's general fund this fiscal year and next. That cost estimate doesn't include any discounts the state may receive from drug manufacturers.

The U.S. economy added just 151,000 jobs in January while unemployment dropped slightly, to 4.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists had expected to see about 190,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate, which has held steady at 5 percent the past few months, dropped slightly to 4.9 percent. It's the first time unemployment has fallen below 5 percent since the recession.

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On Thursday, Shell released its full year report that showed an 80 percent drop in earnings from 2014 to 2015. The company's earnings fell steeply from $19 billion in 2014 to $3.84 billion in 2015.

Members of Congress at a Thursday hearing wrestled with questions about why the prices of some old drugs are rising so fast.

Much of the session held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was dominated by Martin Shkreli, the bad-boy former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who earned notoriety by raising the price 5,000 percent for the drug Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis.

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