Business

Business
2:42 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 3:35 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We'll begin NPR's business news with a $3.6 billion payback.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Starting this week, the nation's largest banks begin sending out checks to borrowers forced into home foreclosure during the robo-signing scandal. Over four million people will receive payments - ranging from $300 to $125,000 - as part of settlements made with the federal government.

Business
2:42 am
Wed April 10, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:20 am

That's the goal of an investment firm in Helsinki. That's the term for a video game controlled by brainwaves. The Wall Street Journal reports the agency is bringing together neuroscientists and game developers.

Education
2:42 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Survey: More Pell Grant Recipients Are Nontraditional Students

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 11:01 am

The federal government each year gives needy college students billions of dollars they don't have to pay back — $34.5 billion to be exact. More than 9 million students rely on the Pell Grant program. But a new study says much of the money is going to people who never graduate.

Sandy Baum, an expert on student financial aid, has been leading a group in a study of the 48-year-old Pell Grant program. Their report, commissioned by the nonprofit College Board, confirms what many have known for years about grant recipients.

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Around the Nation
2:42 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Court: Exxon-Mobile Guilty In N.H. Contamination Suit

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 4:09 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A jury in New Hampshire has ruled that Exxon-Mobile must pay the state $236 million. The money would help clean groundwater that was contaminated with a gasoline additive known as MTBE. But as New Hampshire Public Radio's Sam Evans-Brown reports, the story doesn't end there.

SAM EVANS-BROWN, BYLINE: In a little state like New Hampshire, $236 million is nothing to sneeze at.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANNOUNCEMENT)

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Politics
2:42 am
Wed April 10, 2013

White House To Unveil 2014 Budget Plan

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:20 am

President Obama formally releases his budget for fiscal 2014 Wednesday. But it's not clear if anyone in the Republican leadership is even willing to negotiate the details.

The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
1:22 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Some Public Defenders Warn: 'We Have Nothing Left To Cut'

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:20 am

Steven Nolder joined the federal public defender's office when it opened in Columbus, Ohio, nearly 18 years ago. Nolder handled his share of noteworthy cases, including the first federal death penalty trial in the district and the indictment of a former NFL quarterback embroiled in a ticket fraud scheme.

Lately, Nolder says, his professional world has turned upside down.

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Business
1:20 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly

Marchers at the state capitol building in Austin, Texas, in February protest working conditions in the state's construction sector.
Jason Cato Courtesy of Workers Defense Project

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 11:12 am

Like almost everything in the Texas, the construction industry in the Lone Star State is big. One in every 13 workers here is employed in the state's $54 billion-per-year construction industry.

Homebuilding and commercial construction may be an economic driver for the state, but it's also an industry riddled with hazards. Years of illegal immigration have pushed wages down, and accidents and wage fraud are common. Of the nearly 1 million workers laboring in construction here, approximately half are undocumented.

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Financial Basics For Baby Boomers
1:19 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Debt And The Modern Parent Of College Kids

How will you pay for your kids' college?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:44 am

It's college touring season, and many parents are on the road with their teenagers, driving from school to school and thinking about the college application — and financial aid — process that looms ahead.

Many baby boomers have already been through this stage with their kids, but because the generation spans about 20 years, others still have kids at home. So how should boomers plan to pay for school when, on average, students graduate from college in the U.S. with $25,000 in debt?

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Your Money
4:41 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Will You Be Chained To A Smaller Check In Retirement?

Opponents of President Obama's expected proposed changes to Social Security rallied at the White House on Tuesday. Among them were lawmakers like Minnesota Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 4:46 pm

When President Obama on Wednesday unveils his blueprint for the government's 2014 budget, he'll offer lots of ideas for changes in taxes and spending.

But the proposal likely to grab the most attention will be the one dealing with cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. Many economists would applaud a change in the way Social Security officials measure inflation, but many older Americans may hiss, fearing a new formula will cut their benefits.

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Business
3:56 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

After Missteps, Does J.C. Penney Stand Another Chance?

After an unsuccessful face-lift attempt by Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney will be led by former CEO Myron Ullman. Some analysts say this might be it for the retailer; others say it must "embrace" its customers to recuperate.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 5:34 pm

A year and a half ago, J.C. Penney's then-brand new CEO Ron Johnson undertook what was supposed to be a transformation of the 110-year-old department store. Yesterday, the retailer cut his tenure short.

J.C. Penney lost nearly $1 billion last year as customer traffic dropped off.

Now, it's bringing back former Chief Executive Officer Myron Ullman to try to stanch the bleeding.

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The Two-Way
3:47 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Bitcoin Surpasses $200 Mark, Continuing 'Epic' Rise

A chart shows the sharp rise of bitcoin against the U.S. dollar in the past five days. Only two months after exchange rates put a single bitcoin's value at around $20, it surpassed $200 Tuesday.
Bitcoin Charts

Bitcoin, the digital currency that trades outside the control of central banks and international borders, reached new heights Tuesday, surpassing the $200 mark for the first time. That level comes just five days after bitcoin approached $150, a development that Mt.Gox, the largest exchange service for the currency, deemed to be "epic."

Bitcoin's rise has been sharp. It was only two months ago that exchange rates put a single bitcoin's value at around $20.

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All Tech Considered
3:34 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Austin Is Latest Testbed For Google's High-Speed Experiment

Matthew Marcus works at his desk in the basement of Kansas City Startup Village in Kansas City, Kan., in January. The village houses several startup companies and takes advantage of the high-speed Internet. Google announced on Tuesday it would be installing its Google Fiber network in Austin, Texas, next.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 5:34 pm

Google announced Tuesday that its Google Fiber project would be hitting Austin, Texas, next. The company says Austin, famous for its South by Southwest festival, is a "mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities."

Google Fiber is the tech giant's blazing fast Internet service, with current rates at 1 Gpbs, about 100 times faster than your typical cable broadband Internet service. It debuted in Kansas City in 2012.

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Environment
2:38 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Keystone XL Pipeline Could Be Huge Boon For Canada

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 5:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Technology
2:38 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Kansas City Slow To Connect With Google's Super Fast Internet

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 5:34 pm

Google has already rolled out an experimental broadband network in parts of Kansas City.

The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

KPMG Partner May Have Traded Inside Information

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 1:20 pm

KPMG has withdrawn as auditor of Herbalife and Skechers USA after the accounting firm revealed that one of its partners may have sold inside information on the companies to a third-party stock trader.

Nutrient-supplement seller Herbalife briefly halted activity in its shares after the revelation, only reopening trading Tuesday afternoon. The company's stock was down 21 cents at $38.18 Tuesday. The broader market was mixed.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
10:31 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Should We Abolish The Minimum Wage?

Jared Bernstein and Karen Kornbluh, who argued for keeping the minimum wage, celebrate their win in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Adelaide Mandeville Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

In the 75 years since it was introduced, Americans have been arguing over the minimum wage.

Some say government intervention to artificially raise wages lowers demand for workers and interferes with economic freedom — preventing people who would be willing to work for less from getting jobs at all. They argue that the minimum wage especially hurts teenagers and young adults with few or no skills.

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Tue April 9, 2013

New Data Show Ford Doing Well In Overseas Markets

A Ford Focus ST was on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:27 am

Which Japanese-manufactured car is the world's most popular vehicle? Maybe none of them. It might just be the Ford Focus.

More than a million Focus models were sold worldwide last year, with Toyota's Corolla coming in second. Next was Ford's top-selling F-Series pickup, sold almost exclusively in the U.S. and Canada, according to the marketing firm R.L. Polk.

Still, there's one caveat. As The Wall Street Journal points out:

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Politics
9:49 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Social Security Will 'Lose Credibility' If We Do Nothing

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:26 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Louisville Cardinals capped off a dramatic journey through March Madness to take the NCAA men's crown last night. We'll look back on the men's college basketball tournament. We'll look ahead to the women's final. That conversation is just ahead.

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Business
3:22 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Demand Is High For Mexico's Magnificent Mangoes

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. If you happen to be listening to this program while having a mango for breakfast, there is a good chance that mango is grown in Mexico. Our neighbor to the south says it is now the world's largest exporter of fresh mangos.

India still reigns king in exports of mango products, but as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, Mexican mangos are now grown at an astonishing rate and the American market is the main target.

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Business
3:18 am
Tue April 9, 2013

BP Begins Its Defense Of 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In a courtroom in New Orleans, the oil giant BP has begun presenting its defense in a case connected to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Plaintiffs include individuals and businesses hurt by the spill, as well as and state and federal governments. And they've argued BP was grossly negligent in drilling the deep water well.

But now it's BP's turn. The company argues that contractors who helped it drill should share the blame for the accident, which killed 11 workers and spilled more than four million barrels of oil.

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Economy
2:34 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher's Economy

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. Steve Inskeep is in Venezuela, reporting this week on that country's presidential election, and he'll be on the program tomorrow. I'm David Greene.

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Business
2:34 am
Tue April 9, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is: Money may not buy you everything.

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NPR Story
2:29 am
Tue April 9, 2013

J.C. Penney CEO Johnson Is Forced Out

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with J.C. Penney's revolving door.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: J.C. Penney has ousted its high-profile CEO, Ron Johnson. The retailer recruited Johnson from Apple, to revitalize the company. But since his arrival less than 18 months ago, things at J.C. Penney have only gotten worse.

Here's NPR's Wendy Kaufman.

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NPR Story
2:29 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Administration Urges Europeans To Ease Austerity Measures

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. President Obama is preparing to send budget plan to Capital Hill this week and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be key in selling that plan to Congress.

Right now, Secretary Lew is on another mission: to sell European leaders on the idea of easing austerity to boost economic growth. We reached Secretary Lew in Berlin. Mr. Secretary, welcome back to the program.

SECRETARY JACK LEW: Good to talk to you, David.

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Research News
12:56 am
Tue April 9, 2013

To Find Insider Trading, Follow The Kids' Money

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

In New York and Washington, government regulators are cracking down on insider trading, the illegal practice in which people with internal information about important company events make stock market trades before ordinary investors find out what's happening.

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Reporter's Notebook
4:15 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Iowa Town Braces For New Reality In Factory Closure's Wake

Main Street in Webster City, Iowa, has so far survived the 2011 closure of an Electrolux factory. But retraining funds and unemployment are running out for former workers, leaving businesses worried that a serious downturn is ahead.
Andrea Hsu NPR

What becomes of a city of 8,000 people when its main employer leaves town? What does it look like, and what does it feel like? I set out to answer those questions on a trip to Webster City, Iowa, last month, as part of my report on the Swedish appliance maker Electrolux.

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Business
3:59 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

One Manufacturing Giant Creates Winners And Losers

Electrolux's new plant in Memphis, Tenn., is the Swedish appliance company's most modern and high-tech facility. The factory will open this summer while an Electrolux plant in Quebec, Canada, is being shuttered.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 7:59 pm

The United States lost close to 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009. Now, slowly, some of those jobs are coming back. Over the past three years, the U.S. economy has gained a half-million manufacturing jobs.

But even with the manufacturing recovery, there are both winners and losers — and sometimes they're created by the same company.

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Climate Change Could Equal Teeth-Rattling Flights

Fly the bumpier skies?
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 4:23 pm

Buckle up — climate change could make this a bumpy flight.

That's according to a newly published study by two British scientists who say increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will make "clear air turbulence" — which can't be easily spotted by pilots or satellites — more common over the North Atlantic. That means the potential for gut-wrenching flights between the U.S., Europe and points east.

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Author Interviews
12:12 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

The 'Alchemists' Who Control The Purse Strings Of The Economy

Cover of The Alchemists

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 1:03 pm

As the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial crash, and Europe is buffeted by a series of banking crises, attention has focused on the presidents and prime ministers who've tried to cope with it all. Journalist Neil Irwin, an economics writer for The Washington Post, says there's an elite group of policymakers who can make enormously important decisions on their own, often deliberating in secret, and in many ways unaccountable to voters.

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Complaints Soar, But Airlines' Quality Rating Stays High

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:07 am

In what would seem to be a contradiction, a respected study says that the quality of service provided by U.S. airlines remained near an all-time high last year even as passengers' complaints soared 22 percent.

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