Business

Business
12:58 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Big Investors Boosting Home Prices, And Not Everyone's Pleased

ReBOUND Residential in Florida has bought multiple properties like this one, a formerly bank-owned home in Sunrise, Fla., as investment properties. The houses are now bringing steady returns as rentals.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:20 am

It's taken several years, but in many parts of the country, home prices are nearly back to where they were at the peak. In places like Florida, where the housing recession hit hard, home prices rose last year by one-fifth or more.

A major factor in the price rise is hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors. They've moved aggressively into the residential market over the past two years, buying tens of thousands of distressed properties, often at bargain prices.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Detroit's William Clay Ford Dies At Age 88

William Clay Ford, seen here in 1995 on a 1903 Ford Model A, has died at age 88. He posed for a photo with Edsel Ford II (left) and his son, William Clay Ford Jr.
Ford Motor Co.

William Clay Ford, a descendant of auto industry pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, has died at age 88. He was the son of Edsel Ford.

Ford's death was confirmed by the automaker that bears his family's name Sunday. The company said Ford died at home after suffering from pneumonia. And it said that during his 57 years with the company, Ford led the Design Committee and helped develop cars such as the Continental Mark II, a sleek two-door built in the mid-1950s.

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The Salt
12:36 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

A Theme Park For Foodies? Italians Say Bologna

Customers dine at the original Eataly in Turin, Italy, which opened in 2007.
demoshelsinki/Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 11:53 am

Italy has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world, and its art and cultural riches have drawn visitors for centuries.

It also prides itself on being a culinary mecca, where preparing, cooking and serving meals is a fine, even sacred, art. And now that the country is in the deepest and most protracted recession since World War II, why not cash in on its reputation as a paradise for visiting gourmets and gourmands?

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The Sunday Conversation
7:52 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Rebuilding A Life And A City After Years On Detroit's Streets

Isaac Lott has been working in deconstruction for four years. He's one of several Reclaim Detroit employees who have spent time in prison and are now starting a new life with the company.
Marvin Shaouni for NPR

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:00 am

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

After years of selling drugs and serving prison time in Detroit, 54-year-old Isaac Lott is now a site supervisor with the organization Reclaim Detroit. The group deconstructs abandoned homes to reclaim materials from them.

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All Tech Considered
4:40 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

SXSW Diary: Aereo, The Supreme Court And TV's Future

Chet Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Aereo, which is fighting big broadcasters over its tiny antenna.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:16 pm

The crowds are so thick in Austin, Texas, that locals are using an Avoid Humans app to find some peace and quiet, and the warning at the convention center of South By Southwest Interactive goes something like this: "Only one person per escalator step OR YOU WILL BREAK IT!"

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Economy
8:16 am
Sat March 8, 2014

What Germans Know Could Help Bridge U.S. Workers' Skill Gap

President Barack Obama promotes job training at General Electric's Waukesha, Wis., gas engine plant in January.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.

President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."

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Business
3:20 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Don't Run Out For Caviar Yet, But Wages Are Heading Higher

Construction companies added 15,000 jobs even though the weather was horrible in much of the country in February.
Sarah Glenn Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:40 am

  • Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Friday's monthly employment report was encouraging — but not just for job seekers. People who already have work could find something to celebrate too: Hourly wages rose at a decent pace.

That's a welcome change for employees who have seen only very, very modest raises in this economic recovery.

The Labor Department said average hourly wages rose by 9 cents an hour in February, up to $24.31. With that bump, workers are now making 2.2 percent more per hour than they were a year ago.

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All Tech Considered
3:19 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Tech Week That Was: Women In Tech, Bitcoin's Man And SXSW Begins

A Bitcoin sign at a shop in Hong Kong.
Philippe Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 8:15 am

Another hectic week in the technology space wraps up just as the massive festival for interactive geeks and the marketers who love them — South By Southwest — gets under way in Austin, Texas.

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Media
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

After Newsweek 'Outs' Purported Bitcoin Founder, Questions Follow

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The past 36 hours have brought us a splashy cover story claiming to have found the figure behind a shadowy multi-billion dollar enterprise, also a media circus replete with an OJ Simpson-like car chase through the streets of Los Angeles and an army of online debunkers intent on proving the article false.

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Economy
2:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

February Jobs Numbers Give Some Economists Reason To Smile

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was some positive economic news today. Job growth in February was stronger than expected. The government monthly employment report showed 175,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. There were also upward revisions for December and January. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, that improvement comes despite evidence that stormy winter weather may have restrained job growth.

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The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Lawmaker Wants To Ban Orcas At San Diego's SeaWorld

A trainer feeds killer whales ice chunks in a tank at SeaWorld in San Diego in this undated photo.
Sandy Huffaker/Barcroft Media Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:33 pm

A California lawmaker has proposed a measure that would prohibit SeaWorld San Diego from using orcas in its shows.

Richard Bloom, a Santa Monica Democrat, says the documentary Blackfish, which examines the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer who was killed by a captive orca, inspired him to push the bill.

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Code Switch
12:50 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

A Native American Tribe Hopes Digital Currency Boosts Its Sovereignty

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:35 pm

There's a lot of talk about virtual currencies lately — how they work, economic implications and whether they're safe. But now a Native American tribe is using a bitcoin-like currency to help strengthen its sovereignty.

In South Dakota, the Oglala Lakota Nation has become the first Native American tribe to launch its own form of virtual currency. Payu Harris, its creator, calls it mazacoin.

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Fri March 7, 2014

MasterCard, Visa Team Up To Improve Payment Security

Visa and MasterCard have formed an industry-wide group to improve payment security.
Damien Meyer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 12:48 pm

Credit-card rivals Visa and MasterCard said Friday they have formed an industry-wide group aimed at improving payment security in the wake of a number of breaches that compromised customers' data.

"The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security," Visa President Ryan McInerney said in the statement.

According to Reuters:

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All Tech Considered
10:28 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Why All This Fuss Over Satoshi Nakamoto Is A Boost For Bitcoin

Is this Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin? He says no.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:15 pm

On Thursday, Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman reported that she had found the founder of the crypto-currency Bitcoin — the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto, a person or group of people whose true identity has been unknown.

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Shots - Health News
9:34 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Actuaries In Denver Will Get First Peek At Obamacare's Full Cost

Health insurers are banding together to share information about how much new customers are costing health plans. A group of actuaries in Denver will be the first to see the figures, which could be used in calculating future rates.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:44 am

Now that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? And how will their coverage costs affect insurance prices for 2015 and beyond?

Few questions about the Affordable Care Act are more important. How it all plays out will affect consumer pocketbooks, insurance company profits and perhaps the political fortunes of those backing the health law.

A few Denver actuaries, bound to confidentiality, will be the first to glimpse the answers.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Jobless Rate Ticks Up, But Job Growth Is Better Than Expected

The scene at a job fair for veterans earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:14 am

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Book News: @GSElevator Author Loses Book Deal

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 8:24 am

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

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Business
4:55 am
Fri March 7, 2014

'Game Of Thrones' Mixtape Drops On Friday

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And our last word in business is: Dragons.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: If you were one of the 14 million people who watches HBO's epic fantasy series "Game of Thrones," the word Dragons conjures adventure and excitement. If you're not watching, HBO wants you.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
4:26 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Safeway And Albertson's Announce Grocery Merger

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a $9 billion grocery sale.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The no. 2 grocery chain in the U.S., Safeway, is being acquired by the owner of Albertson's, the fifth largest grocer. Cerberus Capital Management is paying just over $40 a share for Safeway, the company said last night. The multi-billion-dollar deal creates a food retailer with more than 2,400 stores and more than 250,000 employees. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
3:22 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Great Lakes' Ice Cover Nears 1979 Record

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 12:11 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All the polar air this winter has frozen the Great Lakes to an extent not seen in 35 years. Scientists say the record for ice coverage, set in 1979, could soon be broken. That year, nearly 95 percent of the Great Lakes were covered with ice. As of yesterday, ice coverage was at 92 percent.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Economy
2:56 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Ukraine's Economy Was In Trouble Before Its Crisis With Russia

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

President Obama and Russian President Putin have had another long telephone conversation about how to end the crisis in Ukraine. The White House says President Obama stressed that a diplomatic solution is possible, but Russian soldiers have to leave their current positions in Crimea and return to their base in the region.

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Around the Nation
2:55 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Weather Expected To Effect February Jobs Report

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The recent bout of winter weather that many of us have felt has hit the U.S. economy. Winter storms cooled job growth in February. The only question is by how much. Economists, investors and job seekers are looking to today's employment report from the government for an answer. NPR's John Ydstie says their predictions have been dampened by the weather too.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: John Sylvia is the top economist for Wells Fargo. His forecast for job growth in February has been pounded down by the weather.

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Business
2:55 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Investors: Oversight Is Needed For Bitcoin To Become Mainstream

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Enzyme David Greene.

Let's return to the saga of bitcoin, the digital currency. Yesterday, "Newsweek" announced that it uncovered bitcoins founding father - but the man they named - Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto - denied it. Just last week, the bitcoin world was rocked by a half billion dollar bank robbery.

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Parallels
1:17 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Seeking Energy Independence, Europe Faces Heated Fracking Debate

Many countries in the European Union are drawn to the benefits of fracking: cheap energy and energy independence. But many Europeans, including these protesters standing outside EU headquarters in Brussels, object to the practice on environmental grounds.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

While watching the turmoil in Ukraine unfold, you may feel as though it has little to do with the United States, but the conflict is stirring a contentious debate in Europe over a topic familiar to many Americans: fracking.

Much of the continent depends on Russian natural gas that flows through pipelines in Ukraine. European countries are asking themselves whether to follow the U.S. example and drill for shale gas.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Grocery Chains Safeway And Albertson's Announce Merger Deal

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has offered to buy Safeway, Inc., the nation's second-largest grocery chain, for a reported $9.4 billion. Cerberus plans to merge Safeway with another grocer, Albertson's.

"Safeway has been focused on better meeting shoppers' diverse needs through local, relevant assortment, an improved price/value proposition and a great shopping experience that has driven improved sales trends," Safeway CEO Robert Edwards said in a statement. "We are excited about continuing this momentum as a combined organization."

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Planet Money
3:41 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs?

Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

President Obama has called for increasing the minimum wage, saying it will help some of the poorest Americans. Opponents argue that a higher minimum wage will lead employers to cut jobs.

Figuring out the effect of raising the minimum wage is tough. Ideally you'd like to compare one universe where the minimum was raised against an alternate universe where it remained fixed.

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All Tech Considered
2:21 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

'Newsweek' Says It Found Bitcoin's Founder: 4 Things To Know

Newsweek's cover story reveals a man named Satoshi Nakamoto, who matches many characteristics of the elusive founder of Bitcoin but never explicitly admits to it.
Via Newsweek

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 8:31 pm

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET:

In an interview with the Associated Press, the man Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin denies he has any connections to the digital currency.

Dorian S. Nakamoto told the AP that he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him a reporter had contacted him three weeks ago:

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Business
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

In Pennsylvania, Gas Company Complaints Grab Statewide Attention

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:42 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pennsylvania landowners say one of the nation's biggest natural gas companies has cheated them out of gas royalties. The company is Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy. It's faced similar accusations and lawsuits in about half-a-dozen other states.

As Marie Cusic, of member station WITF reports, Pennsylvania's governor wants to take a harder look at the allegations.

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Planet Money
1:30 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Beyond Job Titles: What Do You Really Do?

---
hairbycamas via Instagram

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:57 am

The big monthly jobs report that came out Friday has tons of numbers describing the American labor force. The numbers are helpful as far as they go, but they skip over a whole dimension of work: What it's really like.

So, over the past few weeks, we asked people over Twitter and Instagram to send us pictures of themselves at work, and to tell us: What's your job title? And what do you really do? What follows are some of the answers.

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All Tech Considered
10:03 am
Thu March 6, 2014

SXSW Tech Preview: Snooping, Wearables And More 3-D Printing

Hugh Forrest, pictured here in 2009, is the director of South by Southwest Interactive.
Scott Beale Flickr

South by Southwest Interactive is the technology-driven part of the annual Austin-based festival for digital, film and music and it starts on Friday. An expected 30,000 people will take part in the interactive and film week that precedes music, and they love it for the spontaneity and the chaos. They also hate it because of the chaos — parties on every corner, marketing handouts at every turn and a sprawling program of panels, screenings and speakers that span at least a dozen city blocks in the heart of Texas.

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