Business

Business
3:32 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Bucking The Fashion Trend, Converse Kicks Up A Fuss About Knockoffs

Nike-owned Converse, the company responsible for the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe, is suing to stop other shoemakers from copying what it says are distinctive elements of its design.
Grant Halverson AP

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:09 pm

Nike-owned Converse, the company responsible for the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe, is suing to stop other shoemakers from copying what it says are distinctive elements of its design: the rubber toe cap, the rubber bumper and two thin, black stripes.

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Around the Nation
3:32 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

As Cattle Prices Climb, Ranchers Watch Out For Bovine Thievery

It's a bull market for cattle: prices are climbing across the U.S. In Tulsa, Okla., stockyards reported selling 4,500 head of cattle at record prices in a single day's sale last week.
Charles Osgood AP

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:10 pm

Across the country, cattle prices continue to climb. That means profits for some ranchers — and huge potential payoffs for cattle thieves.

Drought in states like Texas and Oklahoma caused the cost of feed to rise, forcing ranchers to sell off their cattle stock. Now that feed prices are back down this fall, ranchers are looking to replenish their dwindling herds — and since cattle supply is low, that demand is driving the cost way up.

In Oklahoma, Tulsa stockyards reported selling 4,500 head of cattle at record prices in a single day's sale this month.

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Book Reviews
3:32 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Amid The Chaos Of Debt Collection, 'Bad Paper' Offers A Riveting Roadmap

cover crop
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Outside a corner storefront in Buffalo, six men tumble from a parked Mercedes. Most of them are ex-cons, some of them are armed and one of them — the polygamist — is packing his machete, to be ready, in his words, "when I run out of bullets." Not one of them weighs less than 240 pounds, and they're all keyed up for a confrontation with a suspected crook — which, as it turns out, goes down in a small storage closet. (Don't worry: No one gets injured.)

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Economy
5:46 am
Sat October 18, 2014

European Slowdown Drives Roller-Coaster Week In Markets

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:33 pm

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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The Salt
3:44 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Once A Year, Farmers Go Back To Picking Corn By Hand — For Fun

The Illinois State Corn Husking Competition is one of nine competitions happening during harvest season all across the Midwest.
Abby Wendle NPR

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 10:01 am

Frank Hennenfent is a typical Illinois farmer. At this time of year, he spends countless hours in an air-conditioned, GPS-equipped combine – an enormous machine that can harvest as many as 12 rows of corn at a time.

But in late September, Hennenfent was going back to the basics. He was a top competitor at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

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All Tech Considered
3:36 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Tech Week: Egg Freezing, Gamergate And Online Giving

Apple and Facebook's decisions to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs sparked a lively debate on the message it sends to women.
iStockphoto

How will technology and gaming need to change to be welcoming for women? We've been exploring the issue for years. This week, the debate rages anew with a development out of Silicon Valley, and a new chapter in the still raging Gamergate controversy.

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Business
4:26 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

As Gas Prices Drop, Hybrid Sales Shift Into Low Gear

Sales of traditional hybrids, plug-ins and all-electric cars are down about 5 percent in 2014 — while truck and SUV sales have jumped.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:19 pm

The recent drop in gas prices may be good for consumers, but it's not such good news for hybrid car sales.

Even before gas prices started to slide, hybrid sales were falling — all while sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury sedans have been on the rise.

That relationship between gas prices and sales is "rather remarkable," says John Krafcik, president of the website TrueCar. "During months when gas prices are low, less fuel-efficient cars tend to take a greater share of the market and vice versa. It's a fairly one-to-one relationship."

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Economy
2:04 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Drop In Unemployment Raises Debate On Optimal Rate

A notice in a store window in New York City announces a retail job opening. Now that unemployment has slipped below 6 percent, there's renewed interest in what the Federal Reserve's target for joblessness should be.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 4:26 pm

The U.S. unemployment rate has been falling steadily over the years. Down from the recession peak of 10 percent in 2009, it reached 5.9 percent in September.

That's getting close to what economists call the natural unemployment rate — the normal level of joblessness you'd expect in a healthy economy.

But a lot of economists are asking whether the old rules about full employment still apply.

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Analysis
2:00 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

In Forcing Out Senior Executive, New CEO Mohn Puts Stamp On NPR

Jarl Mohn, a veteran of radio and television, became NPR's CEO in July.
Jim Tuttle for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 3:03 pm

The ouster earlier this month of NPR's chief content officer, Kinsey Wilson, did little to stir outcry or concern among public radio listeners.

Yet because of Wilson's prominent role in seeking innovative ways for the network to flourish as the audience's habits shift, the announcement generated much attention and consternation inside the circles of digital journalism.

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Around the Nation
9:07 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Fiesta Fan Photos: Your Dishes On Display

A Fiesta plate in its "natural environment" with other dishes.
luluqlou Instagram

Create a Venn diagram of NPR listeners and fans of Fiesta dishware, and there's likely to be a huge intersection of the two. We know this from our recent callout for photos of the brightly colored dishes. NPR listeners threw open their kitchen cabinets and showed off their collections: stacks of mix-and-match plates, favorite mugs, signature colors, family heirlooms.

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Business
7:27 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Predictions Of 'Peak Oil' Production Prove Slippery

Workers drill for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, N.D., an area experiencing an oil boom.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 10:52 am

The dustiest portion of my home library includes the 1980s books — about how Japan's economy would dominate the world.

And then there are the 1990s books — about how the Y2K computer glitch would end the modern era.

Go up one more shelf for the late 2000s books — about oil "peaking." The authors claimed global oil production was reaching a peak and would soon decline, causing economic chaos.

The titles include Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression, Peak Oil Survival and When Oil Peaked.

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Business
4:25 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Sustained Lower Gas Prices Could Drive Economic Growth

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:53 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk next about the economic effects of oil prices. We've been reporting this week on oil prices that seem to drop measurably day by day. Eventually, that translates to cheaper gas. We asked NPR's Chris Arnold just how much that matters.

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Business
4:23 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Why Has There Been So Much Turmoil In Financial Markets Lately?

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:53 am

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

National Security
3:03 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Privacy Advocates Don't Buy FBI's Warning About Encryption Practices

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 10:08 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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StoryCorps
1:22 am
Fri October 17, 2014

For Father-And-Son Locksmiths, The Key Is Hard Work

When Phil Mortillaro dropped out of school in eighth grade, he started work as a locksmith. Now he and his son, Philip Jr., run their own shop in Manhattan.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:53 am

Phil Mortillaro and his son, Philip Jr., run Greenwich Locksmiths in Manhattan. The elder Mortillaro has been practicing the trade since he dropped out of school after eighth grade.

"I was one of those kids who would show up when school first started," Phil tells his son on a visit to StoryCorps in New York. "Then they would see me again around Christmastime. And then they would see me in June to tell me that I had to do the grade over again. So dropping out of school was — it was inevitable."

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All Tech Considered
1:21 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Silicon Valley Companies Add New Benefit For Women: Egg-Freezing

A technician opens a vessel containing women's frozen egg cells in April 2011 in Amsterdam.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 6:54 am

In the Silicon Valley arms race to lure the top talent with the best benefits, Facebook and Apple are adding egg freezing for female employees. The two companies may be the first to pay for the procedure for women who choose it to delay childbearing.

The addition of egg-freezing to the benefits plan comes as tech companies face mounting pressure to hire more women. And it's a perk that some women may find attractive.

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Business
2:47 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Airbnb, New York State Spar Over Legality Of Rentals

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 7:24 am

Airbnb has a problem. The website for short-term room rentals is growing quickly. But in many cities, these rentals are illegal. Now, New York's attorney general has documented the extent of the illegal activity, by delving into the company's business records.

Almost three-quarters of New York City bookings appear to break the law, he says.

Thousands of these bookings happen every day in buildings all over New York, like the studio that Irene rents out on Manhattan's Upper East Side. (Irene asked that her full name not be used.)

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All Tech Considered
12:21 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Your Car Won't Start. Did You Make The Loan Payment?

A borrower enters a code into a starter interrupt device installed in a car in Limerick, Pa.
Rick Smith AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 1:19 pm

For borrowers in default, the repo man is no longer the one to fear — it's Big Brother. Growing numbers of lenders are getting tech savvy, remotely disabling debtors' cars and tracking customer data to ensure timely payment of subprime auto loans. The practice has created problems for consumers and raises privacy concerns.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Citigroup's Mexican Unit Fined $2.2 Million For Shoddy Oversight

A Banamex bank sign in Mexico City.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 12:54 pm

Mexico's banking regulator has slapped a nearly 30 million peso ($2.2 million) fine on the Citigroup subsidiary Banamex, for failing to provide sufficient accounting controls. The regulator said the lack of oversight allowed the Mexican firm Oceanografia to allegedly dupe the bank out of $400 million.

Banamex had lent the money to Oceanografia, an oil services firm contracted by the state petroleum monopoly, PEMEX, based on invoices that turned out to be fake.

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Planet Money
11:23 am
Thu October 16, 2014

The Most Common Jobs For The Rich, Middle Class And Poor

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:38 pm

We've written a lot about how income has changed (or not) for the rich, middle class and poor in the U.S. We've written much less about what the rich, middle class and poor actually do for work.

To remedy that, we made this graph. It shows the 10 most popular jobs in each income bracket. Click on each job to see where it appears in different income brackets.

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Parallels
10:26 am
Thu October 16, 2014

As Oil Prices Fall, Who Wins And Who Loses?

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, shown in Kuwait last month, has played down the drop in oil prices. The country continues to pump oil at high levels, saying it wants to preserve its market share. But this has also contributed to a 25 percent drop in oil prices since June.
Yasser Al-Zayyat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 12:47 pm

With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.

Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.

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Education
10:03 am
Thu October 16, 2014

LA Schools Superintendent To Step Down Amid iPad Controversy

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 11:09 am

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

Television
3:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

HBO To Start Online Only Streaming Service

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 10:32 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Planet Money
3:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Strong U.S. Dollar Pushes Oil Prices Lower

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 10:32 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Business
3:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Crude Oil Prices Drop As Saudis Refuse To Cut Production

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 10:32 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The price of oil is plunging. Earlier this week, we told you it hit $89 a barrel.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today we can tell you it's down below $85 - the lowest price in years and down 25 percent in recent months.

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American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape
1:32 am
Thu October 16, 2014

W.Va. Pottery Company Keeps Popular Fiesta Line Thriving

Fiesta settings are displayed at the Homer Laughlin China Co. showroom at the company's headquarters in Newell, W.Va. The line currently has 15 colors.
Ross Mantle for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 9:20 am

You may not know the name Homer Laughlin, a china factory in Newell, W.Va., but you'll likely recognize — or have eaten off of — its most famous product: brightly colored, informal pottery called Fiesta.

While most of America's china factories have closed, unable to compete with "made in China" or Japan or Mexico, Homer Laughlin, which set up shop on the banks of the Ohio River in 1873, is still going strong. It employs about 1,000 people.

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New Boom
1:32 am
Thu October 16, 2014

For More Millennials, It's Kids First, Marriage Maybe

Phillip Underwood and Michelle Sheridan and their children, Logan and Lilliana, gather in their living room in Frederick, Md., after a long day of work and school. The couple had delayed marriage, in part for financial reasons.
James Clark NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 7:09 am

Decades ago, an "oops" pregnancy might have meant a rush to the altar. But when Michelle Sheridan got pregnant three years ago, the topic of marriage never came up with her boyfriend, Phillip Underwood, whom she lives with in Frederick, Md.

If anything, it was the opposite.

"It changes the dynamic of the household," she says. "I had a friend who put off her marriage. Got pregnant, and she's like, 'Let's just wait, 'cause we don't know if we're going to be able to make it through this.' "

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The Two-Way
12:29 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Amazon To Hire 80,000 Holiday Workers

Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 5:44 am

An increase in customer demand is spurring Amazon.com to create 80,000 seasonal positions at its network of distribution centers across the U.S.

That's a 14 percent increase over the number of temporary workers it hired last year at this time.

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The Salt
5:01 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

New GMOs Get A Regulatory Green Light, With A Hint Of Yellow

Corn farmer Jerry McCulley sprays the weedkiller glyphosate across his cornfield in Auburn, Ill., in 2010. An increasing number of weeds have now evolved resistance to the chemical.
Seth Perlman AP

Government regulators have approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. They're the latest weapon in an arms race between farmers and weeds, and the government's green light is provoking angry opposition from environmentalists.

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Economy
2:51 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Turmoil Continues In Financial Markets As Dow Plunges

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Stocks took a beating, with key indexes falling more than 2 percent before bouncing back slightly.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 5:54 pm

It was another stomach-churning day on Wall Street. At one point, the Dow industrials were down 460 points — a huge drop that followed four consecutive days of stock market losses.

The decline more than wiped out the year's gains. But then late in the trading day, tocks started to recover. And by the close, the Dow's loss was a little more than 1 percent.

Investors are worried about a global economic slowdown, the Federal Reserve's next move and even the Ebola virus.

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