Business

NPR Story
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Effects Of Automatic Spending Cuts Become Clearer

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

As we've been hearing, clock is ticking on the sequester. That is the Washington term for the across-the-board cuts that will take effect March 1, unless Congress acts to put them off.

The impact the $85 billion reduction in government programs could have became a bit clearer yesterday, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Politics
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Automatic Budget Cuts Near As Democrats, GOP Stand Firm

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.

NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.

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Business
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Carnival's Crippled Ship Expected To Hurt Cruise Business

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:40 am

This week's debacle on the Carnival Triumph is a setback that may cost the company as much as $80 million and hurt the industry's image. Carnival says passengers who were on the Triumph the last five days without power were miserable, but at least they were safe. Industry watchers say Carnival generally has handled the mishap well, but that the industry may need to rethink how it deal with events like power outages on floating cities than can carry more than 5,000 people.

Economy
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Eurozone Economies Declined In 2012

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Europe's rocky economy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: It was a tough three months for the eurozone at the end of last year. The area fell deeper into recession.

And as NPR's John Ydstie reports, it's expected to remain in recession well into 2013.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The output of the eurozone fell six-tenths of a percent in the final three months of last year, according to a report from Eurostat. The decline translates to an economy contracting at a 2.3 percent annual rate.

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Business
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

How Will Proposed Merger Affect Airline Passengers?

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Conventional wisdom says fewer airlines mean higher fares and fewer flights. But experts say the American Airlines-U.S. Airways proposed merger is a mixed bag. Past mergers haven't led to significantly higher fares, but will this time be different?

Economy
12:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

In Kansas, A 'Glide Path' To No Income Taxes. Will It Work?

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, shown delivering the State of the State address last month, is pushing to get rid of the state's income tax, which has some Republicans concerned.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:47 am

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has put the state on what he calls a "glide path to zero" income tax. But that glide path is far from being clear or smooth.

On the face of it, Brownback seems to enjoy a remarkably strong political position. He's a conservative Republican, flanked by GOP supermajorities in both legislative chambers. His allies helped purge moderate Republicans from the state Senate in last year's election.

"I think the road is open," Brownback says. "I think we do provide an alternative model. I think we do provide a red-state model."

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U.S.
3:40 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Taxpayers Steaming Over Florida Nuclear Plant's Shuttering

The Crystal River Nuclear Plant has stood idle since workers cracked the reactor's containment building in 2009. The facility is now slated to close permanently.
Will Vragovic AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:15 pm

The operator of Florida's Crystal River nuclear plant sent shockwaves through the state when it announced recently that it was shutting down the facility for good.

When nuclear plants have closed elsewhere, locals have cheered. But in Citrus County, it's been more like a death in the family.

At Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant in Crystal River, owner Bubba Keller says he's worried about what's going to happen to the community. "I mean, things are already tough," Keller says. "If this makes it worse, don't know if I can hang in there."

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Business
3:40 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Airline Mega-Mergers: 'Good, Bad And Ugly'

A United Airlines aircraft passes by a Continental Airlines plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in 2006. Their merger, begun in 2010, has been difficult, analysts say.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 6:24 pm

The proposed marriage of American Airlines and US Airways announced Thursday is likely the last in a series of industry mega-mergers, but history suggests combining two big carriers isn't easy.

"The history of airline mergers in the U.S. is good, bad and ugly," says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at the consulting firm Hudson Crossing. He and many others point to the 2008 union of Delta and Northwest as the best merger in recent memory.

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Business
2:38 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway And Private Equity Firm To Buy Heinz For $23 Billion

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:40 pm

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and the private equity firm 3G Capital are set buy ketchup giant Heinz.

NPR Story
2:30 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Merger Of American Airlines and US Airways Will Create World's Largest Carrier

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:40 pm

The boards of US Airways Group and AMR have approved the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. The resulting company will become the world's largest airline. American is in bankruptcy, so its creditors will own a big chunk of the new company and US Airways shareholders will own the rest.

The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

With GDP Slip, German Economy 'Finally Lost Its Invincibility'

Today we got more troubling news for the world economy: Germany's GDP slipped 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012, sending the Eurozone deeper into recession.

The Guardian spoke to Carsten Brzeski and analyst for ING, who said:

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The Salt
11:39 am
Thu February 14, 2013

When Resistance Is Futile: Bring In The Robots To Pull Superweeds

An illustration imagines what a weed-seeking robot could look like, armed with different tools to attack different problem plants.
Courtesy Steve Young

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 12:08 pm

A future without weeds would be a kind of farmer utopia, but currently, herbicide-resistant "superweeds" are part of today's reality. Some researchers, though, are looking for a solution that seems ripped from science fiction: weed-seeking robots.

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Business
11:38 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Will The US-American Merger Make The Skies Less Friendly?

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 11:46 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. You can soon add US Airways to a long list that includes TWA, Pan Am, Eastern, Western, Braniff and so many others. US Airways will merge with American. The new American Airlines will be the world's largest, and after decades of consolidation, one of just four major airlines in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
10:01 am
Thu February 14, 2013

'It Could Be A Lot Worse,' Triumph Passenger Says; Cruise Ship Docking At Ala. Port

Makeshift tents are seen on the deck of the Carnival cruise ship Triumph, in a photo taken Sunday, the first day it spent without engine power. The image was provided by Kalin Hill of Houston.
Kalin Hill AP

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 12:21 am

The Carnival cruise ship Triumph docked in Mobile, Ala., late Thursday night, as the job of towing the stricken 100,000-ton ship hundreds of miles across the Gulf of Mexico took longer than expected. The ship's 3,143 passengers had coped with sewage problems and a lack of ventilation since Sunday, when the Triumph was crippled by an engine room fire.

Updated 2:15 a.m. ET Friday: All Passengers Disembarked

A spokesman for Carnival says all passengers have left the cruise ship that was stranded for days without power and running water.

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Business
9:02 am
Thu February 14, 2013

How The American-US Airways Merger Might Affect You

A US Airways plane rests near two American Airlines jets at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last year. The combined carrier would be named American Airlines.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:24 pm

American Airlines and US Airways on Thursday announced they plan to merge to create the country's largest airline, with a route network stretching from coast to coast, and covering large swaths of Latin America, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean and Africa.

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Business
8:22 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway To Buy Heinz

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Warren Buffett is teaming up with another big investor in the $28 billion deal. Berkshire Hathaway has been looking for places to invest, with other recent deals involving consumer icons Coca-Cola and Mars.

The Two-Way
7:49 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Warren Buffett Puts Heinz In His Pantry

J.B. Reed Landov

The Oracle of Omaha is again showing he's got a taste for companies that make the kinds of food many Americans love.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is joining with the Brazilian investment group 3G Capital to buy H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion. Add in the debt that the new owners will assume and the deal's value grows to $28 billion, Buffett's company says.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell By 27,000 Last Week

The number of people filing first-time clams for unemployment insurance fell by 27,000 last week, to 341,000 from 368,000 the week before.

The Employment and Training Administration also reports that the "4-week moving average was 352,500, an increase of 1,500." That average, in theory, gives a better picture of the trend.

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Business
5:09 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Lew Expected To Be Confirmed As Treasury Secretary

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Jack Lew, President Obama's pick for Treasury secretary, appears headed toward confirmation by the full Senate. He fared well during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Finance Committee yesterday.

But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, Lew did get some pointed questions from Republicans about his brief career in the private sector as an executive of Citigroup.

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Business
5:03 am
Thu February 14, 2013

American, U.S. Airways Announce Merger

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

More now on this morning's merger announcement by American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The deal would create the biggest air carrier in the U.S., with an estimated value of $11 billion. The merger must still be approved by regulators. And since American Airlines is working its way out of bankruptcy, a federal bankruptcy judge will also have to OK the deal.

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Business
4:50 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with healthier retirement accounts.

The nation's largest administrator of 401(k) accounts says the average account balance grew by 12 percent last year. Two-thirds of that growth is attributed to the surging stock market. The other factor is increased contributions from workers and their companies. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
4:50 am
Thu February 14, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 11:48 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Our last word in business today is love, marriage and taxes. Just in time for Valentine's Day and tax filing season, the independent Tax Policy Center has updated its online marriage bonus and penalty calculator.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The new numbers reflect the latest changes in the tax code. Couples considering a walk down the aisle might want to take a look at this before saying I do.

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Around the Nation
4:50 am
Thu February 14, 2013

In N.C., Obama Pushes For American Manufacturing

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

There's a long tradition of presidents traveling right after the State of the Union address. And the first stop usually says something about a president's priorities.

Yesterday, less than 12 hours after his speech to Congress, President Obama left Washington to visit a factory in North Carolina. It's part of his push for American manufacturing.

NPR's Ari Shapiro was on the trip.

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NPR Story
3:49 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Obama Tries To Move Spotlight Off Deficit Reduction

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Pre-school is one example of how President Obama says the government can play a constructive role in the U.S. economy. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama tried to refocus a debate that, for two years, has been all about cutting. The president is highlighting government programs that even many Republicans support.

Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, but President Obama says the government could be doing more to help.

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Planet Money
1:09 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Mavericks, Hot Documents And Beer

Lawrence Jackson AP

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

The boards of American Airlines and US Airways just approved a merger of the two airlines. But the deal still has to win the approval of antitrust regulators at the Justice Department — regulators who last month sued to stop a merger between the beer giants Anheuser-Busch InBev and Grupo Modelo, which brews Corona.

The antitrust division has dozens of economists on staff. Their job, essentially, is to figure out whether a merger would reduce competition so much that a company could raise prices without losing business to competitors.

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Latin America
1:01 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Will 'Made In Haiti' Factories Improve Life In Haiti?

Workers prepare the foundation for a new warehouse and manufacturing facility at the Caracol Industrial Park in northern Haiti. The park, which opened last year, is still under construction.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:05 am

Three years after the devastating Port-au-Prince earthquake, one of the largest international relief projects in Haiti isn't anywhere near where the quake hit. It's an industrial park on the north coast halfway between Cap-Haitien and the border with the Dominican Republic.

Aid agencies are pouring millions of dollars into the project to encourage people to move out of the overcrowded capital and create jobs. Critics, however, say the jobs don't pay enough to lift people out of poverty.

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Study Of Used Cars Recommends Buying Newly Launched Models

Newly redesigned for the 2010 model year, the Buick LaCrosse was found to be one of the most reliable midsize cars, in a study released by J.D. Power and Associates.
David McNew Getty Images

In the 2010 model year, the most dependable cars and trucks were either new to the market or had been through a major redesign, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates. The finding contradicts the traditional stance that consumers should let carmakers work out the bugs in a new model before they buy.

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U.S.
3:22 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Lew Criticized For Citigroup Connection During Senate Confirmation Hearing

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to the nation's capitol, where senators are considering the president's nominee to manage the country's finances. Jacob Jack Lew is slated to replace Timothy Geithner as secretary of Treasury, and the Senate Finance Committee posed questions to him today. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, everyone was on their best behavior. It was nothing like the slugfest Geithner had at his confirmation four years ago.

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Politics
3:22 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Obama's Call To Raise Minimum Wage Not Likely To Go Anywhere

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Among the things President Obama proposed last night in his State of the Union Address, an increase in the minimum wage.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty...

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ...and raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour.

(APPLAUSE)

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Around the Nation
3:22 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Maine Employment Agency Gives Convicted Felons A Second Start

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For convicted felons, it can be hard to land a job regardless of how much it pays. But there's an employment agency in Maine that's focused on putting felons into the workforce. Get an ex-con a job, the idea goes, and it might keep them from going back to prison.

Tom Porter introduces us to the founder of Maine Works.

TOM PORTER, BYLINE: For Margo Walsh, a typical day starts well before dawn.

Good morning, Margo.

MARGO WALSH: How are you?

PORTER: OK.

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