Business

The Two-Way
5:21 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Reports: FAA To Order Review Of Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The interior of a United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:05 am

Update at 9:42 a.m. ET. Review Ordered:

Saying that "we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed Friday morning that his agency has ordered a review of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems in recent days, including fuel leaks and an electrical fire.

The planes are not being grounded. Boeing says it welcomes the review and is confident in the aircraft's safety.

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Business
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Looking Back On Bank Of America's Countrywide Debacle

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Five years ago today, Bank of America announced it was buying the troubled subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial for $40 billion. At the time, the financial crisis had not fully revealed itself, and many people thought Bank of America was getting a good deal. Instead, the acquisition has turned into a never-ending legal and financial nightmare. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Business
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

AmEx Travel Section Bears The Brunt Of Layoffs

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Heading in the other direction, American Express says it plans to lay off more than 5,000 workers in the coming year. These unexpected cuts come despite a strong holiday sales season.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: All told, the layoffs will account for about eight percent of American Express's entire workforce - most from the company's global travel business.

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Technology
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

CES Vendors Want To Hook Up Your Home

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

That big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas ends today. And while big tech firms like Google and Apple did not attend, an increasingly diverse range of companies took their place. With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, many companies are flocking to this festival of gadgets, hoping to bring all the appliances in your home online. NPR's Steve Henn reports.

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Business
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

International Twitter War Becomes An Opera

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Last summer, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.

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Europe
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Spain's Banks Face Layoffs, New Regulations

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of Spain's most troubled banks announced, this week, that it's laying off half of its staff - after being sold to a competitor for just one euro. Crippled by the housing market's collapse, Spanish banks are living off bailout loans from Europe. Those loans come with strings attached, including massive layoffs and strict new regulatory measures by Spain's central bank.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer explains.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Business
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with new jobs at Ford.

Ford announced today, that it plans to hire more than 2,200 white collar workers here in the U.S. The jobs will center around product development, manufacturing and IT. This continues an upswing in hiring at Ford. It added over 8,000 U.S. jobs last year. And yesterday, the automaker doubled its quarterly dividend to the highest level in seven years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Planet Money
1:46 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Black Market Pharmacies And The Big Business Of Spam

Acne medicine, in Turkish.
Dave Keck

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

An apparent feud between two black market pharmacies has shed light on a shady global industry.

"Rx-Promotion and SpamIt probably are responsible for upward of 50 or 60 percent of spam that you and I got in our inboxes over the last five years," said Brian Krebs, a cyber-security reporter who chronicled the alleged feud on his website. "It's just a ridiculous amount of problems that these two guys cause for everybody."

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Economy
1:44 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Geithner Began With 'Smoldering' Economy; What Does He Leave?

In this handout image provided by the White House, President Obama talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the United Nations on Sept. 23, 2010.
The White House Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has had a bruising four years. He took office when the U.S. economy was plunging into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Nominating Jack Lew as Geithner's successor Thursday, President Obama praised his departing Treasury secretary for helping to get the economy back on track.

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The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

American Express To Cut 5,400 Jobs

American Express Co. announced Thursday that it was cutting 5,400 jobs, primarily in its travel business, and take a $287 million restructuring charge associated with those layoffs.

The charge is likely to lower the company's adjusted fourth quarter net income by 46 percent from a year earlier. Excluding the charge, however, the company said its fourth quarter adjusted net income was $1.2 billion, or $1.09 per share.

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Business
4:26 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

To Catch Worker Misconduct, Companies Hire Corporate Detectives

Companies are turning to corporate monitors to check on employees who may be misbehaving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:32 pm

As businesses face more complex regulations and heightened scrutiny by prosecutors, companies are turning to investigative firms to help keep watch over their employees.

The idea behind the "corporate monitoring" business is to nip misconduct in the bud before law enforcement catches a whiff of it. These corporate detectives-for-hire are seeing good business these days, and finding new ways to snoop.

We all know our employers have access to tons of data about us. They can see every person we email from our company email account, every phone number we dial from our desk.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

What Does $1 Trillion Worth Of Platinum Look Like?

You'd need a lot of these — think in terms of railroad cars to haul them — to have $1 trillion.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

OK, OK. We know that you don't actually need $1 trillion worth of platinum to make this debt-defying coin.

But just for the sake of some financial fun, how much platinum would you actually need to mint a coin that contains a trillion dollars worth of platinum?

Turns out, it's probably more than mankind has available on the market right now.

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Taps Top Aide Lew For Treasury

Jack Lew has been nominated to be the next Treasury secretary.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 12:57 pm

  • President Obama announces nomination of Jack Lew for Treasury

Saying he "cannot think of a better person" to take the job, President Obama this afternoon formally announced he is nominating Jacob "Jack" Lew, his chief of staff, to be the next Treasury secretary.

Word of Obama's decision to tap Lew, who previously served as budget director in the Obama and Clinton administration, broke Wednesday.

"Jack has my complete trust," Obama said.

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Economy
10:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Three New 'Cliffs' Threaten The Economy

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 2. Financial market participants will be keeping a close eye on upcoming deadlines affecting the U.S. debt ceiling, scheduled automatic budget cuts and federal funding.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:39 pm

Maybe you were hoping you'd never hear the phrase "fiscal cliff" again after Congress passed legislation Jan. 1 to address that tax-break-expiration deadline.

Sorry.

Three more cliff-type deadlines are fast approaching. They involve: 1) raising the federal debt ceiling 2) modifying automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and 3) funding the government to avert a shutdown.

The deadlines all hit between Valentine's Day and Easter, which means new rounds of chaotic congressional negotiations may start up just after the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration parade ends.

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U.S.
7:48 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Mississippi Blues: When The River Doesn't Run

Barges last month crowded an area on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis where barges are stored, loaded and unloaded. Shippers worry that the drought-shrunken river could shut to barge traffic entirely this month.
Colby Buchanan/U.S. Coast Guard AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 10:53 am

The Mississippi River has provided George Foster with a living all his life. Now, with the river dropping to historically low levels, it's threatening to take his business down with it.

Foster's office sits atop an empty barge on the river, just south of St. Louis. His building tilts at a 30-degree angle because the water is so low. Visitors may want to stick out their fingertips for balance walking down his narrow hallway.

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The Two-Way
6:16 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Crazy Or Canny? Talk Grows About $1 Trillion Platinum Coin

No, this isn't worth $1 trillion. It's a commemorative coin minted in the U.K. in 2008. But some have suggested the president's image should be on it if he orders up a $1 trillion coin.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:15 am

We're pretty sure this won't happen.

But ...

You practically can't visit a news site these days without seeing a story about why President Obama should or should not order the Treasury Department to strike a platinum coin "worth" $1 trillion and deposit it with the Federal Reserve.

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Business
5:49 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Wanted: Water Slide Tester

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. A travel group in Britain is advertising a six-month job with an intriguing set of qualifications: comfortable in swimwear, happy to get wet at work. And this is key: mad about water parks. The job is water slide tester at the company's Splash World Resorts in places like Majorca and Turkey. It pays just okay, but the gig does promise plenty of thrills before the water slide tester retires that swimwear. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Latest TV Technoloy: Ultra-High Definition TV.

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Television makers are trying to find the next big thing that will get you to throw out your current TV and buy a new one. They thought it might be 3D TV. That didn't work out. So now they've come up with something new. They're showing it off this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is where we found Rich Jaroslovsky. He writes about technology for Bloomberg News, and he told us about the newest new viewing experience.

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Politics
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Expected To Pick Lew As Head Of Treasury

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama will nominate his chief of staff as the next treasury secretary later today. Jack Lew is a budget expert who could hit the ground running, as the Treasury tries to cope with a looming debt ceiling, automatic spending cuts and the ongoing push for long-term deficit reduction. Lew would be the latest nominee for a high-profile Cabinet post, as the president prepares for a second term.

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Study: Music Affects Driver Safety

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business goes out by special request to people listening in their cars. A new study finds that the music you listen to can affect how safely you drive.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Researchers at London Metropolitan University studied how drivers reacted to different playlists over 500 miles. Some of the safest music, we're told, included tunes by Norah Jones and Elton John. They're soft and slow-paced.

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

China Investigates Foxconn For Bribery Allegations

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And there's more trouble for Foxconn, the electronics giant which makes Apple products in China. The company is acknowledging that Chinese police are looking into allegations that Foxconn employees took bribes from parts suppliers.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from Shanghai.

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Planet Money
1:27 am
Thu January 10, 2013

The North Dakota Town Where A One-Bedroom Apartment Rents For $2,100 A Month

Yours, for $2,100 a month
Josh Marston

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

A plain, one-bedroom apartment in Williston, N.D., rents for $2,100 a month. For this price, you could rent a one-bedroom apartment in New York City.

Williston is not New York City. There are 30,000 residents and one department store. The nearest city is two hours away.

Rents are so high in Williston because the town is in the middle of an oil boom. Unemployment is below 1 percent, and workers are flooding into town.

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Europe
1:25 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Rubles For Minutes, Not Mochas, At Russian Cafe Chain

Tsiferblat, or Clockface Cafe, in Moscow draws a young crowd, from students to entrepreneurs. The cafe provides Wi-Fi, printers, books and art supplies. Drinks, snacks, atmosphere and the space are free. All customers pay for is time.
Courtesy Of Diana Derby

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Cafe life has taken hold in modern Russia. From Starbucks to local chains such as Kofe Khaus and Schokoladnitsia, there are lots of places to hang out, see and be seen.

It's a striking change in a country where, in Soviet times, the best an ordinary comrade could expect was a mug of tea in a workers canteen.

The world over, the basic contract between cafe and customer is this: You buy a drink or a snack, and you get to use the premises for as long as it takes to consume it.

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Your Money
1:24 am
Thu January 10, 2013

New Mortgage Rules Would Limit Risky Lending

New federal mortgage rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is releasing Thursday much anticipated new mortgage rules, which will restrict the kind of subprime lending practices that caused both the financial and housing sectors to crash five years ago.

The new rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Announces Her Resignation

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, seen here sitting in a new Ford Fusion last September, submitted her resignation to President Obama Wednesday.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 3:34 pm

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is resigning, opening up one more slot in President Obama's second-term administration. A former member of Congress, Solis was the first Hispanic woman to head a Cabinet-level agency.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Attacks On U.S. Banks' Websites Seen As Work Of Iran

Sophisticated hacking attacks on U.S. banks in recent months have distinctive qualities that are leading investigators to believe another nation may be behind the assault. The likely suspect is Iran, which officials believe may be trying to even the score for American hacking of its nuclear program.

At least nine U.S. financial institutions have been hit since September; more attacks are expected. And part of what makes them suspicious is that they seem calculated not to steal account data or money, but instead to disrupt the banking system.

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The Two-Way
10:42 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Kickstarter Pledges Topped $320 Million In 2012; Site Names Year's Top Projects

The MaKey MaKey invention kit includes a plan for making a "banana piano," helping the Kickstarter project make it to the site's best-of-2012 list. Kickstarter says 2.2 million people pledged nearly $320 million in 2012.
Kickstarter

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 1:54 pm

Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site that pairs indie-minded inventors and entrepreneurs with online investors, fully funded more than 18,000 projects in 2012, according to its end-of-year analysis. The site says that in total, more than 2.2 million people pledged a total of nearly $320 million. For the year, 17 projects raised more than $1 million.

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The Salt
10:11 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Kids Who Play Food Product Games May Eat More Junk Food

Many popular food games for computers and devices like tablets are actually "advergames", created by food manufacturers to market their products to kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:02 am

Some kids can't get enough of online games where they can pretend to run a candy factory or decorate cakes. But children who play with these games may eat more, and eat more junk food, even if the game features fruit or other healthful choices, according to new research.

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Politics
9:53 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Eyes Glazed? Cutting Through The Fiscal Talks

You might be feeling a bit hung over from all the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations. But the financial talks in Washington aren't over yet. In the coming months, the White House and Congress will face three major economic challenges. Host Michel Martin breaks down what you need to know for the next round of fiscal talks.

The Two-Way
9:40 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Reports: Obama Has Settled On Jack Lew, His Chief Of Staff, For Treasury

Jack Lew, current White House chief of staff. He's likely to be the nominee for treasury secretary.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:46 am

Update: At 6 a.m. ET. Jan. 10, White House Announcement:

The White House has officially confirmed that President Obama will nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary. According to a statement, the announcement is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET today (Thursday).

NPR's Scott Horsley had more about the nomination on Morning Edition.

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