Business

The Two-Way
7:57 am
Fri April 3, 2015

If A Caller Says, 'I Am With The IRS,' He's Not

The Internal Revenue Service says the number of IRS-related phone scams is on the rise.
gmutlu iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 9:57 am

True story: The other day, I attended a speech by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who said phone scammers are swarming the country in the run-up to April 15, aka Tax Day.

These criminals call taxpayers and insist they must "immediately give up their personal information or make a payment," Koskinen warned. Don't fall for it.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Economy Adds A Disappointing 126,000 Jobs In March

Seattle Police Detective Kevin Nelson (left) talks with U.S. Army soldiers at an October job fair at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., for soldiers who may exit military service in the next year.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 12:05 pm

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy gained just 126,000 jobs in March, a figure well short of economists' expectations and the weakest growth since December 2013, the Labor Department reports. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent.

The consensus among economic forecasters had been for 245,000 new jobs, which would have continued a 200,000+ monthly streak that has been the longest such spurt of job growth since the early 1990s. Over the last year alone, the U.S. economy has added 3 million jobs.

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Planet Money
4:23 am
Fri April 3, 2015

How The Price Of Oil Caused A Downturn In The Recycling Business

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 5:56 pm

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

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Economy
1:44 am
Fri April 3, 2015

March Employment Report Shows Growth β€” But Disappointing Numbers

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 2:13 pm

Editor's note: This story was updated following the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the employment report.

The pulse of the U.S. job market was revealed Friday morning, when the government released employment data for March. Employers added a disappointing total: just 126,000 jobs.

Prior to March, it had been quite a run for the U.S. job market. The economy had added more than 200,000 jobs every month, maintaining a level of job creation that hasn't been seen since a 13-month run back in 1994-95.

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Goats and Soda
4:17 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

If You Know Where The Missing $6 Million Is, Please Tell Sierra Leone

The health workers of Sierra Leone β€” like Dr. Komba Songu M'Briwah (on the phone) β€” were dedicated to fighting Ebola. But they had a huge handicap. A government report reveals that some of the money allocated went to pay "ghost workers."
David Gilkey NPR

Sierra Leone poured a lot of money into the battle against Ebola.

The government earmarked $18 million of treasury funds and public donations to combat the disease, which has claimed around 3,800 lives there.

That's an admirable commitment. But there's just one problem. A third of that money appears to have disappeared.

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The Two-Way
4:16 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Nixon's 'Western White House' Is Up For Sale

President Richard Nixon's California home, seen in 1969, is back on the market for $75 million. The 10-room Spanish-style adobe is located in San Clemente.
HF AP

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 10:06 am

After owning the estate for 35 years, retired Allergan CEO Gavin S. Herbert is selling the former home of President Richard Nixon for $75 million.

The estate in San Clemente, Calif., is large. Its main residence is 9,000 square feet, and the entire compound boasts more than 15,000 square feet of living space. The Wall Street Journal has details:

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Food
4:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

The Fake Meat Industry's Quest To Make Faux Taste Real

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:30 pm

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

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The Salt
4:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

How The Matzo Crumbles: Iconic Streit's Factory To Leave Manhattan

A rabbi (center) supervises the production of Passover matzos at the Streit's factory on New York's Lower East Side, circa 1960s. This Passover will be Streit's last one at the landmark location.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 10:42 am

This Passover holiday marks the end of an era for an iconic matzo factory in New York City.

Streit's has been baking matzo β€” the unleavened bread that Jews eat during the eight days of Passover β€” in the same factory on the Lower East Side for 90 years. But the company announced it will move production to a new, modern factory after the holiday.

That's a blow to Streit's loyal customers, who insist it tastes better than other brands.

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Business
3:07 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Arkansas Governor Asks Lawmakers To Rework Religious Liberty Bill

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 8:08 am

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

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Parallels
2:01 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Huge Scandal At Top Of Petrobras Trickles Down, With Devastating Effect

People, most of them unemployed, line up March 19 at a popular Itaborai, Brazil, restaurant where they can have lunch for about 30 cents. The Petrobras refinery and processing plant on the outskirts of town has been shut down; tens of thousands are now out of work in the area.
Vanderlei Almeida AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:14 pm

I meet Joao Jesus outside the local labor tribunal in the Brazilian town of Itaborai, east of Rio de Janeiro.

"This morning I wasn't able to give my kids breakfast," he says, in a way that suggests he can hardly believe it himself.

Financial crises often get spoken about in the nameless, faceless lingo of "world market downturns" or "changing patterns of consumption" β€” but the crisis engulfing Brazil and its state oil company, Petrobras, has names and faces.

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The Salt
1:59 am
Thu April 2, 2015

When Wal-Mart Comes To Town, What Does It Mean For Workers?

Jessey Drewsen, 25, lives near the H Street Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C. She says she doesn't like the store, but that she goes there for cheap supplies like pens.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 1:58 pm

This is the second in a two-part story about Wal-Mart. Read and listen to Part 1 here.

One of the biggest objections critics often raise about Wal-Mart is how it treats its workers.

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The Two-Way
9:02 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Still Need A Lawn Yeti? Good News β€” SkyMall May Be Cleared For Relaunch

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 1:50 pm

In January, SkyMall LLC and its parent company, Xhibit Corp., filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with some $50 million in liabilities. The company's assets were set to go up for auction in late March. The news led to a strong show of support for the in-flight catalog.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

With Nostalgia And A Last Nosh, 1 Of 3 Remaining HoJo's Closes

A vintage postcard (circa 1930-1945) shows the HoJo's on U.S. Alternate Route I, in Fredericksburg, Va.
Boston Public Library/Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 6:55 pm

In the 1960s and '70s, Howard Johnson's restaurants were the biggest chain in the country, with more than 1,000 locations.

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NPR Story
3:54 am
Wed April 1, 2015

The Urban Neighborhood Wal-Mart: A Blessing Or A Curse?

The H Street Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C. Ten years ago, none of the city's 600,000 residents lived within 1 mile of a Wal-Mart. Today, almost 13 percent do.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 3:22 pm

This is the first in a two-part story about Wal-Mart. Listen to Part 1 above, and tune into Morning Edition Thursday to hear Part 2.

The corner of First and H streets in downtown Washington, D.C., is a reflection of the changing face of the nation's capital. From here, you can see the Capitol dome, while across the street are a concrete public housing complex and a hip new Peruvian chicken restaurant.

You can also see a new Wal-Mart.

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NPR Story
3:01 am
Wed April 1, 2015

No Joke. Flood Insurance Rates Increase On April 1

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 3:22 pm

Copyright 2015 WSHU Public Radio Group. To see more, visit http://www.wshu.org/.

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Business
3:03 am
Tue March 31, 2015

With 'Single-Stream' Recycling, Convenience Comes At A Cost

At Resource Management's materials recovery facility, workers pull plastic bags, other trash and large pieces of cardboard off the conveyor belts before the mixed single-stream recyclables enter the sorting machines.
VΓ©ronique LaCapra St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 1:30 pm

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The Salt
1:41 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Our Food-Safety System Is A Patchwork With Big Holes, Critics Say

Walking through the warehouse of food processor Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., shows how complicated the food safety system can be. Pallets are stacked with sacks of potato flour, and the smell of fresh-baked apple-cinnamon muffins floats in the air.

Heartland Gourmet makes a wide range of foods β€” from muffins and organic baking mixes to pizzas and burritos. That means business manager Mark Zink has to answer to both of the main U.S. food safety regulators, the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

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The Salt
12:42 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Grocery Stores Are Losing You. Here's How They Plan To Win You Back

A little booze can't hurt: The Hy-Vee grocery chain has added a Market Grille to several of its locations in the Midwest and Great Plains. You can order drinks and dinner before or after you do your grocery shopping.
Courtesy of Hy-Vee Market Grille

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 4:41 pm

If pushing a cart up and down the lengthy aisles of your neighborhood supermarket β€” past dozens of brands of packaged cereal and crackers lit by fluorescent lights β€” feels overwhelming and soul-sucking, you're not alone.

But there's some good news: The days of shopping this way may be numbered.

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U.S.
1:42 am
Mon March 30, 2015

With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

Cushing, Okla., is a major oil storage site. Amid record oil production, some analysts worry the U.S. will run out of places to put it all.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:16 am

Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.

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Politics
3:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Proposed Payday Industry Regulations Must Strike Delicate Balance

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 3:54 pm

The federal government is moving to reign in the payday loan industry, which critics say traps consumers in a damaging cycle of debt. A look at the possible effects of proposed regulations and what push back they might face.

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

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Asia
5:39 am
Sun March 29, 2015

How Singapore Became One Of The Richest Places On Earth

A couple enjoys the view of Singapore's financial center. Conservatives saw Singapore as a free-market success story, but Lee Kuan Yew's government played a big role in the economy.
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 8:33 am

Singapore has been called the 20th century's most successful development story.

"I don't think any other economy," says Linda Lim, an economist at the University of Michigan, "even the other Asian tigers, have that a good a statistical record of rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators β€” life expectancy, education, housing, etc. β€” in the first 20 years," she says.

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The Salt
5:26 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Cheez Whiz Helped Spread Processed Foods. Will It Be Squeezed Out?

A Cheez Whiz ad from 1952.
Courtesy of Kraft Foods

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 8:33 am

Will Cheez Whiz survive the merger?

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The Salt
3:24 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

Not Just Sugary-Sweet, Hard Cider Makes A Comeback

The Wassail cider bar, which recently opened in New York City, offers a dozen ciders on tap and another 80 or so in bottles.
Noah Devereaux for Wassail

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 2:13 pm

There's a new bar in New York City devoted to the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in America. But don't expect a list heavy on craft beer or bourbon.

Wassail is a cider bar.

"You can see the color, very deep," says Ben Sandler, co-owner of the bar and restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He's filling my glass with a delicious amber liquid from E.Z. Orchards in Salem, Ore. "You can see it's kind of cloudy, so it's not filtered. Really dry."

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World
3:44 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Nostalgic Cars: Sour Automotive Fruit Of Cuban Embargo Gets New Life

Daily traffic in Havana resembles a vintage car rally, even if it does share the city streets these days Hyundais and Peugeots and rattletrap Russian Ladas.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:30 pm

In Havana, Cuba, the old cars that crowd the streets used to symbolize a stagnant nation. Now enterprising Cubans have begun renting cars out to tourists who are hungry for the cars of their youth.

During my reporting trip to Havana, I spoke with Julio Alvarez, the owner of Nostalgicar in Havana.

He joked that one thing Cubans should thank Fidel Castro for is all the old, majestic American cars that are now making him money.

You can listen to the story using the player above.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Yemen's Turmoil Sparks Big Swings In The Global Oil Market

Yemenis walk past near oil tankers that were burnt during clashes between Shiite Houthi rebels and their opponents in the capital, Sanaa, in September. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes this week to counter the Houthis' offensive.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

The current upheaval in Yemen is a sharp reminder of the fragility of the global oil market. Airstrikes by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen has stoked fears of a disruption to the supply market.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, share a long border. While Yemen is only a small producer of crude oil, it controls the Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.

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The Salt
1:01 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Did That Restaurant Pass Its Health Inspection? Now Yelp Will Tell You

A health inspection grade is posted outside a Manhattan eatery. In several cities, Yelp users can now find out how a restaurant scored on its health inspection well before they walk through the door.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 4:00 pm

Log onto Yelp, and you'll find what all your neighbors have to say about your favorite restaurant. You'll find prices, locations, menus, photos, even parking tips.

And if you're in the right city, you'll also find the restaurant's health inspection score.

"What we're trying to do ... is reduce foodborne illness [by] warning consumers when they're in the middle of making a decision," Luther Lowe, Yelp's director of public policy, tells The Salt.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Airlines Worldwide Rush To Adopt '2-Person' Cockpit Rule

A Southwest Airlines pilot and co-pilot preparing for a flight from Dallas last year. In the wake of the Germanwings crash this week, many European airlines are rushing to adopt a two-person cockpit rule similar to the one already in place in the U.S.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 8:14 am

The global aviation industry is moving swiftly to change policies to reassure the traveling public in the wake of the apparently deliberate crash of airliner into the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard.

Airlines from around the world have announced that they will begin requiring two crew members in the cockpit at all times after investigators on Thursday announced that the crash of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 occurred when the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit and placed the Airbus A320 into a deliberate descent.

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NPR Story
3:02 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Evaluating Whether It's Time To Cut The Cord

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 6:00 am

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

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NPR Story
3:02 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Examining Right-To-Work Laws Impact On Income And Economic Growth

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 6:00 am

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

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The Salt
3:02 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Was Your Seafood Caught By Slaves? AP Uncovers Unsavory Trade

A 3,000-ton cargo ship at Thajeen Port in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, 15 days after it set sail from Benjina, Indonesia. The company that owns the ship said it is not involved with the fishermen. "We only carry the shipment and we are hired, in general, by clients," said owner Panya Luangsomboon. "We're separated from the fishing boats."
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 5:16 pm

Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That's the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

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