Business

NPR Story
3:01 am
Tue April 14, 2015

IRS Budget Cuts Make For Nightmarish Filing Season

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 4:02 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
2:17 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Big Bills A Hidden Side Effect Of Cancer Treatment

Anne Koller closes her eyes as an oncology nurse attaches a line for chemotherapy to a port in her chest. Koller typically spends three to six hours getting each treatment.
Sarah Jane Tribble WCPN

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:13 pm

Anne Koller was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer in 2011 and has been fighting it since.

But it's not just the cancer she's fighting. It's the bills.

"Think of those old horror flicks," she says. "The swamp creature ... comes out and is kind of oozy, and it oozes over everything."

When she was able to work, Koller, who just turned 65, was in the corporate world and safely middle-class, with health insurance and plenty of savings.

At first, she was too sick to deal with the bills. They piled up.

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Business
2:43 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

New York Investigates Retailers For Unpredictable Work Schedules

Gap is among 13 big retailers that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating for possible violations of "reporting time" laws. Gap says it is establishing "sustainable scheduling practices."
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:49 pm

The unpredictable schedules of retail and fast-food workers is a big issue in workers rights campaigns. Now, the New York attorney general is investigating the way some of the country's biggest retailers handle scheduling.

In New York, if a worker shows up for a shift that he doesn't end up being needed for, the law says he still is due four hours of pay. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says retailers, especially, rely heavily on systems that require workers to be ready to work a shift — regardless of whether they end up working. It's called on-call work.

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Business
1:29 am
Mon April 13, 2015

In Pennsylvania, Employment Booms Amid Oil And Natural Gas Bust

Students at the Pennsylvania College of Technology are learning a technique called "tripping pipe," moving a pipe from a stack into a horizontal position and lowering it down into a well. The students train on a practice drilling rig to learn how to be roustabouts.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 6:00 am

Lower oil and natural gas prices have the petroleum industry laying off tens of thousands of workers. It looks like a decade-long trend of job growth in the U.S. oil business may end.

But there are parts of the country where those job numbers are still rising. Pennsylvania is one of them.

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All Tech Considered
7:22 am
Sun April 12, 2015

Once The Cream Of The Crop, Zynga Zigzags To Adapt To Mobile

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus gives a presentation in 2011.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 9:01 am

Remember those days of tending rows of virtual soybeans and strawberries on your Facebook page with a game called Farmville? It was a moment, and Zynga, the company that makes the game, cashed in when it went public back in 2011.

Now, Zynga is losing money and its founder is back, to mixed reviews.

When Zynga launched Farmville in 2009, it surprised everyone with its success. It quickly became the most popular game on Facebook.

But people got bored with planting seeds on a desktop. The market had moved to mobile, and Zynga didn't keep up.

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Education
7:35 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Students Push College Fossil Fuel Divestment To Stigmatize Industry

Alumnus Will Lawrence of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network came back to Swarthmore to help the students effectively communicate their protest to the school's administrators.
Emily Cohen NewsWorks

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 8:54 am

In the past few years, students at hundreds of colleges and universities have started pushing their schools to divest from fossil fuel companies as a way to slow climate change.

The campaign has had some notable wins in the past year. But at tiny Swarthmore College, outside of Philadelphia, where the movement was born, students have been staging a sit-in for nearly a month to try to make their voices heard.

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All Tech Considered
3:38 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Magic Mirror, At The Store, Should This Top Go In My Drawer?

Neiman Marcus is testing a digital "Memory Mirror" that lets shoppers see how an outfit looks in back as well as displaying items they've tried on side by side.
Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 5:30 pm

Spring: the time of year many people find themselves twirling in front of mirrors, trying on prom dresses, tuxedos or wedding gowns. Wouldn't it be nice to know how an outfit really looks from the back, instead of craning your neck, hoping to see what others see?

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Business
3:04 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

General Electric To Sell Majority Of Finance Arm, Real Estate Holdings

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 5:30 pm

The sprawling conglomerate General Electric is radically paring down its business, ditching most finance and real estate operations. GE was badly burned by the financial crisis, and the plan announced Friday would protect it from the risks associated with banking.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Planet Money
3:07 am
Fri April 10, 2015

How Solar Power Has Gotten So Cheap, So Fast

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 5:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk now about a different kind of technology - solar power. Solar is a clean source of energy long considered too expensive, but now that's changing. Jacob Goldstein of NPR's Planet Money team has been asking why solar power has grown so cheap so fast.

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Latin America
3:07 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Airbnb Finds Interest In Cuba But Hurdles Must Be Overcome First

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 5:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
3:58 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Brands Target Tween Girls In Bid To Keep Them As Longtime Customers

In a video posted to YouTube last year by the women's health company HelloFlo, a preteen girl fakes her period and faces unexpected, and embarrassing, repercussions from her mother.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 7:06 am

Quick — name one awkward thing you could talk about with a 12-year-old girl. How about menstruation?

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Shots - Health News
1:56 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Medical Schools Reboot For 21st Century

Dr. Raj Mangrulkar and medical student Jesse Burk-Rafel at the University of Michigan Medical School. Good communication skills, teamwork and adaptability will help doctors thrive through swift changes in medical science, Mangrulkar says.
Leisa Thompson Courtesy of University of Michigan Medical School

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 6:27 pm

Medicine has changed a lot in the past 100 years. But medical training hasn't — until now. Spurred by the need to train a different type of doctor, some top medical schools around the U.S. are tearing up the textbooks and starting from scratch.

Most medical schools still operate under a model pioneered in the early 1900s by an educator named Abraham Flexner.

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

PG&E Hit With $1.6 Billion Penalty For 2010 Calif. Pipeline Explosion

A Sept. 10, 2010 photo showing firefighters and rescue crews working amid damage caused by the pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 7:36 am

Pacific Gas & Electric Co.has been ordered to pay a $1.6 billion penalty — the largest ever levied against a public utility — for a 2010 explosion in a gas pipeline it operated that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes in a San Francisco suburb.

The five-member California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-0 Thursday to impose the penalty. President Michael Picker called for a larger review of problems at PG&E, a move that The Associated Press says "suggests the energy behemoth could be broken up."

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Uber Launches Cash-Only Rickshaw Service In Indian Capital

An auto-rickshaw in New Delhi. You can use an Uber app in the Indian capital to hail the three-wheeled vehicles.
Manish Swarup AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 2:19 pm

Ride-hailing service Uber has launched a new service in the Indian capital of New Delhi — for auto rickshaws, the popular three-wheeled vehicles.

The big difference between UberAuto and the ride-hailing service's other offerings worldwide: You pay the autos, as the vehicles are known in India, only in cash. Fares are set by the state.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Founder Of Indian IT Giant Satyam Gets 7 Years For Fraud

Ramalinga Raju, founder and former chairman of fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services, is escorted from a court in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad in April 2009. Raju and nine other defendants have been convicted of fraud and conspiracy.
Krishnendu Halder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:33 am

In one of India's largest-ever cases of corporate fraud, the founder and chairman of failed outsourcing giant Satyam Computer Services and nine other defendants have been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of stealing millions from shareholders.

An Indian court in the country's tech hub, Hyderabad, ruled Thursday that B. Ramalinga Raju, his two brothers and seven other officials of Satyam — which collapsed in 2009 — used forged documents and fake bank accounts in a scheme that cost the company's shareholders $2.28 billion.

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All Tech Considered
5:08 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Weighing Privacy Vs. Rewards Of Letting Insurers Track Your Fitness

Patient Gary Wilhelm looks at his medical data on a smartphone that is synchronized to a new Fitbit Surge on his wrist.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:11 pm

Would you be willing to hand over your health information to a life insurance company, in exchange for financial rewards?

Activity trackers have become increasingly popular over the past few years, tracking everything from how many steps you walk to your location throughout the day.

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Around the Nation
3:24 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Calif. Farmers Face Harsh Realities In Drought-Stricken Central Valley

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:34 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
3:18 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Rail Operators Aim To Do More Short-Distance Hauling

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:34 am

Copyright 2015 WFAE-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wfae.org.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Planet Money
3:03 am
Thu April 9, 2015

CEO Describes What It's Like When Investors Bet Against You

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:29 am

The online furniture company Wayfair is now one of the most shorted stocks. Our Planet Money team talks to its CEO about what it's like to be running a company when some investors are betting on your fall.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It's All Politics
2:07 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Obama To Address Caribbean's 'Economic Achilles' Heel' — Energy

Night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Analysts warn a sudden energy shortage in the Caribbean could create security problems not far from U.S. shores and even trigger mass migration. But thanks to its domestic energy boom, the U.S. has a rare opportunity to get out in front of the crisis and possibly build some goodwill of its own.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 3:16 pm

President Obama is in Jamaica on Thursday, meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and more than a dozen other leaders from throughout the Caribbean. It's the first stop on a three-day tour that also includes a hemispheric summit meeting in Panama. Topping Thursday's agenda is a looming energy crunch in the Caribbean, and a chance for the U.S. to seize the initiative there from leftist leaders in Venezuela.

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Icy Traffic Jam On Lake Superior Has 18 Ships Stuck

United States Coast Guard ships break up ice in eastern Lake Superior on Tuesday.
Kenneth Armstrong Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 2:08 pm

Huge ice chunks stacked some 8 feet deep on Lake Superior have left 18 freighters stuck. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards have gotten involved, sending Canadian icebreakers and American vessels to help the ships break free from Whitefish Bay.

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The Salt
3:50 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Latest Item On McDonald's Shifting Menu: A $5 Burger

The new Sirloin Third Pound burgers will be offered at McDonald's starting later this month, for a limited time.
Courtesy of McDonald's

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:39 pm

McDonald's has been struggling in recent years to keep pace with fast-casual chains like Five Guys and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

So the fast-food giant is testing different menu options to lure back customers. Starting later this month, McDonald's diners will be able to choose a $4.99 sandwich — the Sirloin Third Pound burger.

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Business
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Shell's Big Deal Could Shift Global Landscape Of Gas Business

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed April 8, 2015

The 'Netflix Of Books' Hopes To Open Up The E-Book Market

With the launch of its e-bookstore on Wednesday, Oyster is, well, turning the page on its business model. And so far, the big publishers are open to the change.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:49 pm

Oyster, the subscription e-book service, announced Wednesday that it will be doing something that's a little bit retro: selling e-books the old-fashioned way, just one at a time.

Since its launch in 2013, Oyster has founded its brand — and earned the auspicious nickname "Netflix of books" — on a monthly payment model not unlike an all-you-can-eat buffet. Now, if readers would like to order just one of those dishes, so to speak, they can. Oyster has expanded its service to include an e-bookstore, which can also be accessed by those without a subscription.

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The Salt
9:58 am
Wed April 8, 2015

In Korea, Spam Isn't Junk Meat — It's A Treat

Spam is a staple in South Korea's supermarkets.
Matt Stiles NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:37 pm

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell's $70 Billion Deal For BG Would Create Gas Giant

A flag bearing the logo of Royal Dutch Shell flies outside the head office in The Hague, Netherlands. The energy company said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy gas producer BG Group for $70 billion.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 12:00 pm

Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell says it has agreed to buy the BG Group for about $70 billion in cash and shares — in what would be one of the biggest energy mergers in at least a decade.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that the deal for British BG Group would "put Shell on track to become the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company within a few years, bypassing ExxonMobil."

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Wed April 8, 2015

John Hancock Hopes You'll Trade Activity Data For Insurance Discounts

You don't need to run a marathon — or wear a gorilla suit — to get a discount on John Hancock's new life insurance program. But at least one of them may help.
Rick Rycroft AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:44 am

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

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The Salt
2:58 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Aspiring Craft Brewers Hit The Books To Pick Up Science Chops

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:20 am

Here's how popular craft brewed beer is these days: On average, a new brewery opens its doors every single day in the the U.S.

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Education
1:48 am
Wed April 8, 2015

States Review Laws Revoking Licenses For Student Loan Defaults

In 22 states, people who default on their student loans can have professional licenses suspended or revoked. The percentage of Americans who default on student loans has more than doubled since 2003.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:21 pm

Clementine Lindley says she had a great college experience, but if she had it to do over again, she probably wouldn't pick an expensive private school.

"I could actually buy a small home in Helena, Mont., with the amount of debt that I graduated with," she says.

Fresh out of school, Lindley says there were times when she had to decide whether to pay rent, buy food or make her student loan payments.

"There was a time where I defaulted on my student loans enough that I never was sent to collections, but just long enough to, honestly, ruin my credit."

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Pop Culture
1:46 am
Wed April 8, 2015

For The Modern Man, The Sweatpant Moves Out Of The Gym

The latest fashion trend for men turns casual sweatpants into designer threads suitable for working professionals. It's called athleisure, and more high-profile retailers are jumping on board.
Craig Barritt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 12:17 pm

They are not blue jeans. They are not slacks. They are not chinos or khakis.

"They're like a jogger," Lee Davis says of his pants, walking through an outdoor mall in Los Angeles called The Grove. He's wearing them with a professional black cardigan over a designer white tee, with a crisp fitted baseball cap and fancy tennis shoes. The pants stand out the most. They fit him impeccably, with clear, tapered lines and a high-end, light-khaki material that flows luxuriously.

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