Business

Planet Money
10:49 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Stamps, Jeans, Beer: What Americans Want From North Korea

Can I buy a pair of jeans made in North Korea?
Office of Foreign Assets Control

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 10:01 am

U.S. sanctions mean that any citizen or business wanting to buy stuff from North Korea has to send a letter to the U.S. government asking for special permission. A few months back, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for those letters.

Our request was granted: We recently received a packet of 18 letters from Americans who wanted to do business with the most isolated nation on the planet. We've posted all of the letters online.

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Race
10:08 am
Fri July 26, 2013

What's On The National Urban League's Agenda This Year?

Jobs are the focus of this year's National Urban League Conference in Philadelphia. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with President and CEO Marc Morial, about how the League has progressed on that front, and asks about the biggest issues facing African-Americans today.

Politics
10:08 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Should Congress Stop 'Drawing Lines In The Sand'?

Guest host Celeste Headlee gets a wrap of the week's political news with journalist Callie Crossley and conservative commentator Lenny McAllister. They talk about President Obama's push to get the economy back on track, and the battle over the President's health care law.

All Tech Considered
9:17 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Facebook Triumphs, Chromecast Launches

Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 11:29 am

Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog, and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.

ICYMI

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Business
3:55 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Toyota Keeps The Top Spot In Sales

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 5:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Toyota holding onto the trophy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Toyota remains the world's top-selling automaker. Numbers out today show the Japanese company sold 4.9 million cars and trucks in the first half of the year, beating out its rival General Motors. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:21 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Prosecutors Say SAC Encouraged Insider Trading

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 5:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And the Justice Department took an unusual step yesterday when it indicted a firm for securities fraud. Officials say the hedge fund company SAC Capital and its founder Steven Cohen routinely tolerated and encouraged illegal activity by employees. SAC is denying charges that it engaged in massive insider trading over the years.

NPR's Jim Zarroli has the story.

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Fears Of Bust Tinge Energy Boom In Denver

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 5:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. Companies that are booming often want prestigious spaces, and this is especially true in the energy industry. The expansion of oil and gas drilling in the United States is having a major impact on the real estate market from Pennsylvania to Texas. It's certainly driving up prices and tightening the market in Denver. From Colorado Public Radio, Ben Markus reports.

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Planet Money
1:32 am
Fri July 26, 2013

What A Falling Gold Price Means For Pawn Shops

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 9:45 am

William Roman wants to borrow money, but his bank won't lend him any more. So he's turning to his local pawn shop.

For Roman, a loan from the pawn shop is a lot easier to get. He doesn't have to fill out an application. The people at the pawn shop don't check his credit — all they want is something valuable, something they call sell if Roman doesn't pay them back.

"I've pawned laptops, PlayStations," says Roman. "If I'm not using it, then I'll just go and pawn it."

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Parallels
12:57 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Citing Dignity, Greek Workers Take Over Factory

Makis Anagnostou, a worker and union leader, bottles lavender-scented fabric softener at VIO.ME, a former tile materials factory that went bust and has been revived by its staff as a collective making environmentally-friendly detergent.
Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 5:33 am

The financial crisis in Greece has devastated the country's manufacturing sector, which has lost more than 30 percent of its jobs in the past three years. But at one factory in an industrial center in the north, workers have taken matters into their own hands.

Inside the cavernous factory on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, eight middle-aged men are filling bottles with a vinegar-based fabric softener that's scented with fresh lavender.

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Business
3:25 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

U.S. Carmakers Are Riding High, But Detroit May Not Feel It

Jeff Caldwell, a chassis assembly line supervisor, checks a vehicle on the assembly line at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit on May 8.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:19 pm

The news out of Detroit has been grim of late, but there are some bright spots coming from one corner of the Motor City. On Thursday, General Motors posted its 14th straight profitable quarter since emerging from bankruptcy. Ford announced its 16th consecutive profitable quarter Wednesday, and Chrysler is expected to offer good news soon as well.

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Law
3:12 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

DOJ Accuses Hedge Fund SAC Capital Of Major Insider Trading

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 3:43 pm

Federal prosecutors finally brought their case against SAC Capital, the giant hedge fund that for years has outperformed almost all of its competitors. Prosecutors say they know why. The firm encouraged the use of illegal insider information and trading on that information became a part of the firm's culture, according to the indictment.

The Salt
3:04 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Palm Oil In The Food Supply: What You Should Know

Much of the palm oil imported into the U.S. ends up in snack foods such as cookies, crackers and microwave popcorn.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Remember the battle over trans fats? Yeah, the fats that did our hearts no favors.

As we've reported, the push to get these cholesterol-raising fats out of the food supply has been pretty successful. And now most packaged snacks are labeled as having zero grams of trans fat.

So what are food manufacturers using instead? One alternative is palm oil. But it's not an ideal replacement.

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All Tech Considered
2:59 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

The Reply To Email Overload? Prioritize — Or Turn It Off

Steven Cohen, the billionaire hedge fund manager of SAC Capital Advisors, didn't see a key email because he gets 1,000 messages a day, his lawyers say.
Jenny Boyle AP

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 5:33 am

In the high-profile civil case against Wall Street titan Steven Cohen, federal authorities accuse the hedge fund head of allowing insider trading within his ranks. Cohen's lawyers offered up a defense fit for the digital age: They claim he didn't see a key, incriminating email because he gets too many messages — an estimated 1,000 a day, and opens only 11 percent of them.

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Cowboys Stadium No More: With Deal, It Is Now AT&T Stadium

The sun sets behind Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 1:30 pm

After what is rumored to be a multimillion-dollar naming deal, the iconic Cowboys Stadium will be called AT&T Stadium from now on.

In a press release, AT&T said part of its attraction to the deal was that Dallas is the company's home. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement that the naming deal ties the team with "one of the world's strongest and most innovative companies."

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Business
10:18 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Government Charges SAC In Insider Trading Case

Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against one of the most famous and successful hedge funds in the world. The government alleges that SAC Capital Advisors is criminally responsible for insider trading that went on at the firm.

The Salt
10:14 am
Thu July 25, 2013

The FDA Doesn't Want Chickens To Explore The Great Outdoors

Free-range chickens feed in a pasture on an organic farm in Illinois.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 1:51 pm

Organic egg farmers are divided in their reaction to a new FDA proposal that's intended to reduce the risk of salmonella infection among free-roaming chickens. They even disagree about what the document, called "Guidance for Industry," actually requires.

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Politics
10:06 am
Thu July 25, 2013

White House Talks Income Gap: New Ideas About Old Problems?

President Obama's economic speaking tour seems reminiscent of campaign speeches in 2008. Guest host Celeste Headlee asks NPR's Ron Elving why the White House is sending this message again.

Economy
10:06 am
Thu July 25, 2013

White House Economics: Growing 'From The Middle Class Out'

President Obama is putting out a message of economic revitalization, starting with the middle class. Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, explains why the executive branch is pushing the message now. She speaks with guest host Celeste Headleee.

The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Feds Charge SAC Capital In Insider Trading Case

Former SAC portfolio manager Michael Steinberg (center) exits a Manhattan federal court with his attorney after his indictment on securities fraud charges in March.
Louis Lanzano AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:29 am

Federal officials in New York City have charged SAC Capital Advisors with insider trading, the culmination of a protracted investigation into the hedge fund founded by embattled billionaire Steven Cohen.

SAC is charged with one count of wire fraud and four counts of securities fraud in connection with alleged insider trading by "numerous employees" at "various times between in or about 1999 through at least in or about 2010," according to the indictment.

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The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Big Coup For One Of The Big Three: Impala Called Best Sedan

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala, which Consumer Reports says its better than its foreign rivals.
Justin Lane EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:12 am

The city of Detroit may be on the skids financially, but one of its traditional "big three" automakers just scored a big win.

For the first time since it began making such comparisons between sedans in 1992, Consumer Reports magazine has given its top rating to a model made by a U.S. automaker — not one made by a European or Japanese company.

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Jobless Claims Rose Last Week; Key Orders Up In June

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 8:04 am

There were 343,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. That was up from an estimated 336,000 the week before.

The increase is from what had been a 10-week low. But basically, claims have been ranging between the mid-330,000s and mid-370,000s all year. Like other employment indicators, the jobless claims figures have been signalling that job growth remains modest.

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Business
3:27 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Ex-Goldman Sachs Executive Takes The Stand

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A former executive at Goldman Sachs will take the stand again in his civil fraud trial this morning. Fabrice Tourre is accused of misleading investors about a security he marketed and sold in the months leading up to the subprime mortgage collapse.

Tourre began testifying yesterday afternoon, and NPR's Jim Zarroli was there. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

GREENE: So give us the background, here, if you can. What is Fabrice Tourre accused of, exactly?

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Environment
1:38 am
Thu July 25, 2013

La. Flood Board Sues Oil Industry Over Wetlands

Canals created for navigation and oil and gas pipelines cut through the marsh off the coast of Louisiana, seen in 2010.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:49 am

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost roughly as much land as makes up the state of Delaware.

"If you put the state of Delaware between New Orleans and the ocean, we wouldn't need any levees at all," says John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. "There is this large buffer of land that has disappeared, and that buffer makes New Orleans much more vulnerable to hurricanes."

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Business
3:29 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Full-Time Vs. Part-Time Workers: Restaurants Weigh Obamacare

The California Tortilla chain is one company still deciding how to react to the new health care requirements for business, set to take effect next year.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Many businesses that don't offer health insurance to all their employees breathed a sigh of relief earlier this month when they learned they'd have an extra year to comply with the new health care law or face stiff penalties.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Why The Latest Gulf Leak Is No BP Disaster

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in April 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 4:06 pm

Teams of workers are mobilizing in the Gulf of Mexico to try to stem a natural gas leak at an offshore drilling rig that exploded and caught fire Tuesday. The rig off the Louisiana coast has been partially destroyed by the out of control blaze, and firefighting boats are on the scene.

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The Salt
3:44 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Taco Bell Says Adios To Kids' Meals And Toys

Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:32 pm

That Crunchy Taco will no longer come with a side of toy.

Taco Bell announced Tuesday that it is ditching kids' meals and the trinkets that come with them at its U.S. locations. The items will begin to come off menus starting this month, the company says, and should be completely gone by January 2014.

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Business
2:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Steve Cohen Fights Back Against Claims Of Insider Trading

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:16 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Billionaire Steven Cohen is fighting back. He faces federal charges that he didn't do enough to prevent insider trading at his hedge fund SAC Capital. As The Wall Street Journal reported this morning, Cohen's firm issued a rebuttal, claiming that he never saw an email that's an important part of the government's case.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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The Salt
1:53 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Howard Buffett Battles Hunger, Armed With Money And Science

Buffett in a pinto bean field on the Arizona farm, where he grew 60,000 pounds of beans for a Tucson food bank in 2012. Another goal of Buffett's research farm is to find better crops for poor subsistence farmers.
Nick Oza for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:12 am

Get Howard Buffett into the cab of a big ole' farm tractor and he's like a kid — albeit a 58-year-old, gray-haired one. He's especially excited when it comes to the tractor's elaborate GPS system, which he describes as "very cool."

"I'm driving hands-free," says Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

He says that the tractor has been automatically set to plant 16 perfect rows of seeds, "so it makes everything more efficient. And it's going to give you a better crop in the end."

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All Tech Considered
1:52 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

See The 10 States With The Fastest Internet Connections

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 2:15 pm

Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.

Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.

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Money Coach
10:18 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Budgeting 101

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And wouldn't you know, there's an app for that. Our regular contributor Arsalan Iftikhar, founder of the blog TheMuslimGuy.com, will tell us more about them in just a few minutes. But first, to matters of personal finance. You might remember that last week we talked about how the summertime is a good time to do a mid-year check-in on your personal finances.

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