Business

It's All Politics
3:08 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Whose Sequester Is It Anyway?

President Obama, accompanied by emergency responders — workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of budget cuts — speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office building in Washington on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:02 pm

By now, it's widely accepted that indiscriminate spending cuts in defense and domestic programs due to start March 1 are likely to occur owing to the failure of President Obama and the Republican-led House to reach an agreement to avoid the budgetary cleaver.

So now, the contest boils down to each side scampering for the higher ground of moral indignation.

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Economy
2:56 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

End Of Winter Drives Nation's Gas Prices Uphill

Reports indicate that gas pump prices are at their highest level on record for this period of the year, but consumers might see a break in the near future — if all goes well.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:42 pm

If you've been behind the wheel recently, you already know gasoline prices are up.

The national average price for regular gas rose to nearly $3.75 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

"Retail prices have gone up for each of the last 33 or so days — dating back to about Jan. 17," says Denton Cinquegrana, executive editor at the Oil Price Information Service.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

English Whisky Aims To Give Scotch A Run For Its Money

Darren Rook checks out a new still at The London Distillery.
Kirsty Chant Courtesy of The London Distillery

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Move over, Scotland. It's time to make room on the shelf for English whisky. London's first distillery in over a century is about to begin production of single malt whisky in a former Victorian dairy.

Darren Rook and his partner decided to open The London Distillery after reading about Australian distilleries. "We wondered why there were none in London," he tells The Salt.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Like Facebook, Apple Says It Was Attacked By Hackers

People walk past the Apple logo at the Apple Store at Grand Central Terminal in New York.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Apple said today that the computers of some of its employees were attacked by hackers, who used the same vulnerability to access computers at Facebook.

All Things D reports:

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Digital Life
12:10 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Social Media And Work: Is It Ever OK To Complain Online?

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:52 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee, filling in for Neal Conan from Washington. These days Facebook and Twitter are almost ubiquitous, and online our friends and family members are just as likely to talk about their jobs as their children and spouses.

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Politics
10:33 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Obama Again Calls For Balanced Plan For Cuts

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Earlier this hour, President Obama spoke in the White House about the impacts of deep spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect a week from Friday. A group of first responders in uniforms stood behind him. The president said if Congress does not stop these cuts, these men and women in uniform will not be available to help communities respond to, and recover from disasters.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Judge OKs Transocean's $1 Billion Civil Settlement Over Gulf Oil Spill

A federal judge in New Orleans has approved a $1 billion civil settlement over its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill where 11 men died in April of 2010, the AP reports.

As we reported back in January, federal authorities blamed Transocean "for acting negligently when the rig's crew proceeded with maneuvers to the deep-sea well in the face of clear danger signals that oil and natural gas were flowing."

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Politics
9:58 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Sequestration: Are the Negations Just 'Theater?'

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 9:29 am

The Defense Department and other government agencies are preparing for the possible government budget cuts known as sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks with Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Robbins of the Defense Department and Washington Post 'Federal Diary' columnist Joe Davidson about who'll be affected.

Planet Money
9:29 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Beer Map: Two Giant Brewers, 210 Brands

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 4:10 pm

In the past decade, a few big beer companies went on a buying spree, spending some $195 billion to buy up brewers around the world, according to Bloomberg.

Beer drinkers can be excused for not noticing. Unlike, say, airlines, which fold their acquisitions into one big, global brand, big beer companies tend to keep the brands they buy in the market.

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Economy
3:51 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Obama To Challenge GOP To Compromise On Budget Cuts

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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Business
3:51 am
Tue February 19, 2013

India, Italy Accused Of Kickbacks In Defense Deal

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with begins with a corruption case in India.

India has dispatched investigators to Italy to examine allegations of kickbacks, kickbacks involving a $700 million defense deal. The case involves the sale of a dozen helicopters to India from one of Italy's largest industrial groups.

From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy has more on a case that's rattling the Indian government.

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NPR Story
3:41 am
Tue February 19, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

OK. Let's stay with tablets, the digital kind. The kind we used to download apps. Our last word in business today is: apps aplenty.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

With the popularity of tablets and smartphones, people have been downloading about 10 apps per month onto their devices.

MONTAGNE: Great news for businesses, perhaps, except research from the business consulting firm Nuance Enterprise shows that the vast majority of those apps are quickly abandoned, especially those that are free.

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NPR Story
3:41 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Older Tech Workers Oppose Overhauling H-1B Visas

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:45 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now, a look at one part of the immigration debate in Congress: a proposed increase in H1-B visas. Those are the visas that allow companies to hire skilled foreign workers. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports in today's "Business Bottom Line," offering more of those visas is controversial, especially among American tech workers of a certain age.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Here in Seattle, people still have fond memories of the 1990s tech boom.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you want a cup of coffee?

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Business
3:41 am
Tue February 19, 2013

'Readers Digest' Fails To 'Adapt To Internet Speed'

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

One of the country's most famous magazines - the 91-year-old Reader's Digest - is filing for bankruptcy for the second time in less than four years. The digest originally offered just what the title promises - short versions of stories that had appeared in other publications. Now, it's filled with perky consumer news you can use, as well as a long-running advice columns, puzzles and jokes. Reader's Digest claims it still has 26 million readers worldwide, but the magazine's revenue took a big hit last year from falling sales overseas.

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All Tech Considered
1:01 am
Tue February 19, 2013

As 3-D Printing Become More Accessible, Copyright Questions Arise

A 3-D printed bust of Yoda is one of the more popular digital designs shared on Thingiverse.
Courtesy of StruveDesigns.com

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 2:13 pm

Many people think 3-D printing could help spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. — even President Obama highlighted this technology in his State of the Union address last week.

But as 3-D printers and 3-D scanners get cheaper, this nascent industry could be roiled by battles over intellectual property.

Not so long ago, a good 3-D scanner that could create accurate digital models of objects in the real world cost more than $10,000. Then, Microsoft released the Kinect — the video game controller that allows you to play games by just waving your hands.

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Politics
12:59 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Get A Social Security Check? Treasury Says It's Time To Go Electronic

U.S. Treasury checks are run through a printer.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Every month, the government sends out about 5 million checks to Americans who receive federal benefits. On March 1, the Treasury Department is making those paper checks a thing of the past.

Since May 2011, all new Social Security recipients are required to get direct deposit of their benefits. Some 93 percent of all recipients now do.

But there are still holdouts, so the Treasury Department started a campaign and a website, Go Direct, in an effort to convince the remaining 7 percent.

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U.S.
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

What Happens When Someone Else Gets Your Tax Refund

Todd Macy, a banker from Marin County, Calif., was the victim of identity theft. Nearly a year after filing his return, he's still waiting for his federal tax refund.
Courtesy of Todd Macy

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:27 pm

If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.

Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.

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Europe
12:58 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Greece's Economic Crisis Reveals Fault Lines In The Media

People read newspaper headlines in Athens. In 2009, there were 39 national dailies, 23 national Sunday papers, 14 national weekly papers and dozens of TV and radio stations for a population of 11 million.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:05 pm

Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.

Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.

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Business
4:42 am
Mon February 18, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:22 am

Big in the 90s, the Tamagotchi is a handheld digital device that's a robotic pet. Owners press certain buttons to feed it, to play with it and get it medical attention. If neglected, the digital pet dies. The company is releasing a new breed of pet — a mobile app.

Business
4:42 am
Mon February 18, 2013

G20 Leaders Pledge To Avert Currency War

A meeting of finance ministers from the 20 leading industrial and developing nations wrapped up over the weekend in Moscow. The nations agreed to not to target the exchange rates of their respective currencies amid concerns that competitive devaluation could spark a currency war.

The Salt
1:28 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Growing Resistance, Oregon Hazelnuts Battle Blight

Oregon State University has been growing a variety of hazelnut trees over the years to develop blight-resistant breeds.
Rebecca McCluskey

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:42 am

Although Oregon is known for many exports — from timber to hipster irony — few people are aware that it's actually the country's leading source of hazelnuts.

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It's All Politics
9:27 am
Sun February 17, 2013

White House Warns Of Sequestration's Effects

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at the White House on Jan. 25.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 12:08 pm

The White House and congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over the consequences of the sequester, the across-the-board cuts to the budget that are scheduled to go into effect in March.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the cuts would offset "pretty good" economic activity over the past few months. He said President Obama had a plan to cut an addition $1.5 trillion from the deficit.

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Business
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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Planet Money
1:18 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Should The U.S. Import More Doctors?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:52 pm

People around the world want the same thing from their doctors. First, do no harm. Second, take a look at this weird bump and tell me if I should get worried.

The job is basically the same in many countries around the world. But the pay is wildly different. The median salary for U.S. doctors is about $250,000 a year. In Western Europe, it's less than half that. In developing countries, the salaries are even lower.

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Business
1:10 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

As Cruise Industry Grows, So Have Its Problems

Coast Guard patrols near the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. The Carnival Triumph lost propulsion power after an engine room fire a day earlier.
Jason Chambers AFP/Getty Images

It's been a rough voyage for the cruise-line industry in the past few years.

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All Tech Considered
11:37 am
Fri February 15, 2013

DIY Broadband Comes To The English Countryside

iStockphoto.com

In a fast-moving world, people from all over have demanded faster Internet speeds. But when you live out in the middle of nowhere, you can feel like you're in the Internet slow lane because broadband just isn't available.

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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?

Business
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Federal Charges Filed In Ohio Dumping Case

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Youngstown, Ohio, the owner of an oil and natural gas drilling company has been charged with a violating the Federal Clean Water Act. He's accused of dumping tens of thousands of gallons of drilling waste water into a storm sewer that eventually runs into a local river.

From member station WKSU, M.L. Schultze has more.

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