Business

All Tech Considered
3:32 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

With Minecraft, Microsoft Buys A Doorway To Millions Of Players

Two youngsters play in a Minecraft tournament Aug. 9 in Ascot, England.
Miles Willis Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 4:27 pm

The video game world saw a massive acquisition Monday when Microsoft confirmed it was buying Mojang, the company behind the immense world-building game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion.

Now let's be clear: While the ink on the deal might say Microsoft bought Mojang, they really just bought the game franchise Minecraft. The company has created and published a few other small games, but nothing in its portfolio is on the level of Minecraft.

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Business
3:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

With Turmoil Roiling Abroad, Why Aren't Oil Prices Bubbling Up?

A soldier guards a pipe en route to the Kawergosk Refinery near Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, in July. Fighting in northern Iraq forced the closure of the country's largest oil refinery, Baiji, and cut production from the Kirkuk oil field this summer.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 5:49 pm

The price of oil has been falling — a drop that you may already have noticed at the pump. Gasoline prices have dropped noticeably since June, and oil is now well below $100 a barrel.

That decline has happened even as conflicts have flared in or near oil-producing regions. Normally, oil prices are expected to spike higher amid turmoil — so why have they been trending lower?

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Technology
2:34 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Minecraft Purchase Gives Microsoft New Foothold

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:53 pm

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

Business
4:01 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Apple's U2 Album Promotion Backfires

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 7:25 am

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

Television
3:58 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Competition Highlights Importance Of Fall TV Season

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 6:08 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Television critics are slogging through hour after hour of new shows to help guide our eyeballs through the busy fall season. And that includes NPR's own Eric Deggans, who's gotten off the couch long enough to talk with us. Thanks, Eric.

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Mon September 15, 2014

App Provides A New Way To Make A Tough Decision

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 6:08 am

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today's last word in Business is a new way to make tough choices. Say you're agonizing over a question like, should I quit my job? Or should I buy that house? You could flip a coin, get out the old Magic 8 Ball...

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Netflix Expands Into France

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 6:08 am

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

Your Money
2:52 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Millions Of Americans' Wages Seized Over Credit Card And Medical Debt

Kevin Evans relaxes in his small apartment after arriving home from work. Evans, who lost income and his home in the recession, is now having his wages garnished after falling behind on his credit card payments.
Colin E. Braley AP for ProPublica

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:00 pm

Millions of Americans are still grappling with debt they've accumulated since the recession hit. And new numbers out Monday show many are having a tougher time than you might think.

One in 10 working Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 are getting their wages garnished. That means their pay is being docked — often over an old credit card debt, medical bill or student loan.

That striking figure comes out of a collaboration between NPR and ProPublica. The reporting offers the first available national numbers on wage garnishment.

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Goats and Soda
2:52 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Philip Morris Sues Uruguay Over Graphic Cigarette Packaging

Smoking has declined by about 4 percent annually in Uruguay since the country required graphic warnings on cigarette packages.
Matilde Campodonico AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 6:08 am

Shopping for cigarettes in Uruguay isn't a pleasant experience. Photos of decaying teeth, premature babies and gruesome hospital scenes wrap around every pack. In fact, the country requires manufacturers to cover at least 80 percent of the packaging with medical warnings and graphic images.

Cigarette giant Philip Morris International sees this requirement as a violation of a treaty law. So it's suing the country of Uruguay for $25 million.

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Media
4:29 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

How Should The Media Handle Beheading Videos?

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

Transcript

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The Two-Way
12:47 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

Heineken Owners Reportedly Rebuff SABMiller's Purchase Offer

Visitors look at old boil tanks at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam last month. As it celebrates 150 years of brewing, Heineken has also reportedly rejected a takeover offer from SABMiller.
Lex Van Lieshout EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 6:08 pm

In a move seen as a way to fight off a potential takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev, large brewer SABMiller has reportedly offered to buy Heineken. The family that controls the Dutch-based brewer rejected the idea, according to Bloomberg News.

Citing "people with knowledge of the matter," the business news agency says SABMiller made its offer in the past two weeks. The two companies would not comment on the story, but Bloomberg portrayed it as part of SABMiller's strategy to remain a competitor to AB InBev — instead of becoming one of its many acquisitions.

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Business
5:50 am
Sun September 14, 2014

'Your Call Is Important ... ' Which Is Why You Hear Music

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 9:56 am

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

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. It can be maddening. You call your doctor, your cable provider, your utility company, and you get sent to hold.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There are 12 callers ahead of you. (Music playing).

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Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Peter Thiel In 'Zero To One': How To Develop The Developed World

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:47 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

You might remember this scene from the movie "The Social Network."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SOCIAL NETWORK")

WALLACE LANGHAM: (As Peter Thiel) You must be Mark.

JESSE EISENBERG: (As Mark Zuckerberg) Hi.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Reality Check For Young Farmers: It's An Expensive 'Habit'

More young people are trying their hand at farming, and consumers are buying more local produce.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 8:36 am

You know the scene: It's Saturday morning, and as you stroll to your farmers market, you sample a crisp apple or scoop up a pile of end-of-the-season tomatoes.

As you chat and pay cash for your bag of bounty everything feels right.

You're not alone. More young people are trying their hand at farming, and consumers are buying more local produce.

But take a step behind that cheerful scene at the farmers market, and you'll discover that life isn't always easy.

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All Tech Considered
3:37 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Tech Week: The Internet 'Slowdown' And Apple's New Crop

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Watch on Tuesday in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 8:57 am

Each week we take a look back at the week that was in tech news and headlines. And this one was chock-full with product news, with the reveal of Apple Watch — Apple's first new product line since 2010. Let's get to it ...

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Planet Money
2:21 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

When Investors Buy Alibaba Shares, They Won't Get What They Paid For

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 4:32 pm

When the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba goes public, it's going to the biggest public offering ever. When investors buy their shares, however, they won't be buying an ownership stake in Ali Baba's profitable websites. Instead, they will be buying shares in a holding company based in the Cayman Islands. It's illegal for Chinese Internet companies to accept investment from outside the country, but Alibaba has found an ingenious way to still get the $20 billion they want from outside investors.

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All Tech Considered
12:43 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Apple Takes A Swipe At The Credit Card

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in Cupertino, Calif., on Tuesday. The company unveiled a new mobile payment system called Apple Pay, which uses security built into the latest iPhones.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 4:12 pm

It started with the iPod. In 2001, Apple promised to do away with stacks of CDs and put 1,000 songs in your pocket. Thirteen years later, the music industry is unrecognizable: Most brick-and-mortar record stores have closed, and a pocket-size hard drive filled with music seems quaint in a world with YouTube and Spotify.

We didn't know it at the time, but the introduction of the iPod began Apple's shift from Macs to consumer electronics, which resuscitated the ailing computer-maker's fortunes and helped transform it into the world's most valuable company.

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Shots - Health News
9:45 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Health Costs Inch Up As Obamacare Kicks In

Whoa!
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 12:45 pm

Doctors and hospitals treated more patients and collected more payments in the spring as millions gained insurance coverage under the health law, new figures from the government show.

But analysts called the second-quarter increases modest and said there is little evidence to suggest that wider coverage and a recovering economy are pushing health spending growth to the painful levels of a decade ago.

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The Salt
7:07 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Food Is Cheap, At Least Compared With 4 Years Ago

Soybeans in a field in Springfield, Neb., on Wednesday. The nation's corn and soybean farmers will bring in by far the largest harvest ever this year, driving down the price of the commodities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 12:30 pm

Around the globe, it's become easier for people to buy food. The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization is reporting that its global food price index has now fallen to the lowest level in four years. That's because of good weather and big harvests in places like North America, Europe and China.

Almost all of the major food commodities have become less expensive: grains, vegetable oils, sugar and dairy products. Dairy prices, in fact, are down by almost 20 percent, compared with their peak a year ago.

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NPR Story
4:40 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Survey: Companies Hold Back On Hiring Full-Time Workers

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Economy
4:40 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Additional EU Sanctions Target Russia's Actions In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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NPR Story
4:40 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Is A-Rod Using LinkedIn To Find Work?

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Planet Money
1:29 am
Fri September 12, 2014

A Dozen Puffins Will Get You 800 Mackerel: Inside The Weird Economy Of Zoos

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

Under the endangered species act, buying or selling an endangered animal requires a permit. The permits are hard to get — even for zoos and aquariums.

But there's a loophole.

"If I donate or loan an endangered species to you, I need no permit," says Kris Vehrs of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

So a barter system has sprung up among zoos and aquariums to trade animals without using money. They even do it with species that aren't endangered. But barter can be complicated.

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Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

SeaWorld Hopes New Orca Habitats Will Stem A Tide Of Criticism

Visitors watch an orca performance at SeaWorld in San Diego this year. The company has seen attendance slip in the year since the release of a documentary film critical of the company's captive whale program.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:56 pm

It's been a strong business year for the nation's theme parks, with a notable exception: SeaWorld.

The company, which has parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., saw its attendance drop in recent months. The company blames that, in part, on fallout from Blackfish, a documentary film that's critical of SeaWorld's treatment of its captive killer whales.

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Business
3:06 am
Thu September 11, 2014

La. Shrimpers Complain Low Prices Aren't Worth Their Effort

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:24 am

Business
3:04 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Employer-Sponsored Health Costs Rose Modestly In 2014

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:24 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Health care costs have been rising, but not rising as quickly as they used to. We just learned that the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance rose just 3 percent this year, fitting that trend.

Here's NPR's John Ydstie.

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Business
2:55 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Eagles Running Back Accused Of Leaving 20 Cent Tip On $60 Check

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:24 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
2:55 am
Thu September 11, 2014

July's Airline Flights Were More Likely To Be On Time

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:24 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Business News is taking off on time.

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All Tech Considered
1:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Is Amazon's Failed Phone A Cautionary Tale?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Amazon Fire phone June 18 in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:05 am

It's been a big week in the world of gadgets. Apple announced its newest iPhones, the 6 and 6 Plus, and they're bigger than any other before. And on the smaller side, there's an Apple Watch — that does a lot of the same things. Meanwhile, Amazon took a nosedive with its foray into the smartphone marketplace. Here are some questions we had:

Amazon slashed the price of the Fire phone from $199 To 99 cents. Why?

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Goats and Soda
1:21 am
Thu September 11, 2014

The Alibaba Effect: How China's eBay Transformed Village Economics

Handsome Zhang — that's his real name in Mandarin --€“ runs a shipping company, one of many supporting businesses spawned by East Wind village's furniture industry. The shipping business helped Zhang, 25, buy this Kia sports car.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:58 am

The Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba is poised this week for what could be one of the biggest IPOs in Wall Street history. One reason Alibaba has been so dominant in China is its business-to-consumer platform, Taobao, a sort of Chinese eBay.

Last year, Taobao and Alibaba's brand-name retail site, Tmall, drove nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in transactions.

Along the way, Taobao has even transformed village economies.

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