Business

All Tech Considered
11:24 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Kenyan Women Create Their Own 'Geek Culture'

Kenyan Susan Oguya created an app to help farmers in her homeland. Shown here in the office of her company, M-Farm, she also belongs to the group Akirachix, which seeks to bring more Kenyan women into the tech world.
Gregory Warner

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

When a collective of female computer programmers in Kenya needed a name for their ladies-only club, they took their inspiration from the Japanese cult film Akira.

"So akira is a Japanese word. It means energy and intelligence. And we are energetic and intelligent chicks," says Judith Owigar, the president of Akirachix.

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Economy
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The 2012 Economy Brought Glad Tidings To Many

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

After years of recession and slow recovery, maybe you didn't notice. But it turns out, 2012 was a fairly good year for the U.S. economy.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has risen nearly 14 percent this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest point in four years. Inflation and interest rates have stayed low, allowing families to cut their debt loads.

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Politics
9:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Is Congress Making A 'Fiscal Bluff'?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee in for Michel Martin. Coming up, the U. S. economy has had an interesting year. I don't need to tell you that we're still facing huge hurdles. But on the other hand, the stock market shot up this year and some sectors are thriving. We'll talk about signs of hope in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Ho-Ho-Hum Last Shopping Weekend As 'Fiscal Cliff' Loomed

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 10:42 am

On this Christmas Eve there's this not-so-cheery news from The Associated Press:

"Christmas shoppers thronged malls and pounced on discounts but apparently spent less this year, their spirits dampened by concerns about the economy and the aftermath of shootings and storms."

The wire service says that:

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Around the Nation
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Storied Cajun Record Shop Is Going Out Of Business

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:30 am

Record shops have been closing across the country in recent years, victims of the digital music revolution. But the closing of Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte, La., is different. For 56 years, Floyd's hasn't just sold records, it has helped revitalize Cajun music. Floyd's is closing its doors for good on Christmas Eve.

Business
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:00 am

Wall Street didn't get much of a gift at the end of last week. The Dow lost 120 points, or nine-tenths of a percent, on Friday. The slump is partly tied to events in Washington last week — a Republican plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" came undone.

Business
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

The Tax Deduction That Costs $180 Billion A Year

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:14 am

Morning Edition's series, the Twelve Days of Tax Deductions, zeroes in on some of the tax breaks lawmakers are grappling with as they hammer out a budget deal, to raise revenue, cut spending and avoid the end-of-year "fiscal cliff." On Day 11, we look at the deduction for employer sponsored health insurance.

Economy
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Could 2013 Be A Good Economic Year?

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:53 am

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS Global Insight, talks to Steve Inskeep about his economic forecasts for 2013. Among his predictions: the U.S. recovery will gradually pick up steam. Unless it falls off a cliff — then a recession will probably be unavoidable.

Europe
4:25 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Spain Tries To Boost Entrepreneurship

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:37 am

In Spain, entrepreneurship is largely a high-class hobby. Family money and connections have long been the best indicators of small business' success. A recent World Bank report ranked Spain lower than Bangladesh and Afghanistan on the ease of starting a business. Now Spain's ruling conservatives want to change that.

Business
3:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

When The Glass Ceiling Is A Baby: Working Through Motherhood

Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michele Flournoy talks with Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton on Capitol Hill in 2010. Flournoy has since left her position to spend more time with her three children.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:44 am

Among the candidates President Obama may nominate for the next defense secretary is Michele Flournoy, formerly the highest-ranking woman in the Pentagon.

Flournoy is a mother of three, and in February, she stunned her colleagues when she stepped down from her job as undersecretary of defense for policy to spend more time with her children.

It wasn't an easy decision, but it's a dilemma that many working mothers face. While some call for changes in workplace policy to make caring for families and working easier, others argue women ultimately have to make a choice.

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Asia
3:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Hitler's Hot In India

A clothing store in Ahmadabad, India, sparked controversy earlier this year, as reporter David Shaftel reports in Bloomberg Businessweek. The city tore down the store's name in October, flummoxing the owners who refused to change it.
Ajit Solanki AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:42 am

All over India, an unusual name has been popping up on signs in restaurants and businesses: Hitler.

Yes, Hitler. As in Adolph. Just last year there was even a Punjabi movie called Hero Hitler in Love.

To understand why a name generally associated with mass murder is turning up on storefronts around the country, reporter David Shaftel investigated and wrote about it in a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Energy
4:48 am
Sun December 23, 2012

Forget Fracking: 2012 Was A Powerful Year For Renewables

Wind turbines stand alongside an electrical tower at the National Wind Technology Center, run by the U.S. Department of Energy, outside Boulder, Colo.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 9:44 am

Natural gas may have reshaped the domestic energy market in 2012, lowering energy prices and marginalizing the coal industry, but America's shale boom hasn't undermined renewables.

In fact, while analysts were paying attention to fracking this year, a record number of solar panels were being slapped on roofs — enough to produce 3.2 gigawatts of electricity.

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U.S.
3:40 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Immigrants Welcomed: A City Sees Economic Promise

Adolphe Bizwinayo left Rwanda as a refugee and says his new city, Dayton, Ohio, helped him transition to American life with initiatives like the Dayton World Soccer Games.
Shawndra Jones for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:40 am

If there's one common language that some recent immigrants in Dayton, Ohio, seem to share, it's soccer.

The first Dayton World Soccer Games kicked off earlier this year, an initiative hosted by the city to welcome an influx of immigrants. On the field, a rainbow of brightly colored jerseys represented nearly 20 of the different immigrant communities in the city.

"I've been really surprised to see that there's a lot of soccer going on in Dayton," says Adolphe Bizwinayo, who left Rwanda as a refugee.

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Business
3:38 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Naughty Or Nice? Retailers Use Smiles To Fight Self-Checkout Theft

Retailers are finding that shoplifting at self-serve checkout lines is surprisingly common.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:40 am

With Christmas on Tuesday, the last-minute holiday shopping this weekend should make for some of the biggest spending all year. Those busy stores are also going to be on the lookout for shoplifters, especially in self-checkout lanes, where it is a big problem.

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Around the Nation
3:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

An Urban Tree Farm Grows In Detroit

Mike Score, president of Hantz Farms, shows off a small-scare version of what Hantz Woodlands will look like.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:21 pm

An entrepreneur says he's got a plan to curb urban blight in parts of Detroit. He's buying up acre after acre of abandoned lots and planting thousands of trees. But where backers of the plan see a visionary proposal, critics see a land grab.

Entrepreneur and Detroiter John Hantz, owner of Hantz Farms and the tree-planting effort called Hantz Woodlands, wants to plant at least 15,000 trees on about 140 acres. Hantz promises to clear out all the trash and keep the grass cut, things the city cannot afford to do now.

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The Two-Way
6:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Consumer Spending, Orders For Durable Goods Rose In November

Shoppers at a K-B Toy store in northern Virginia last month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

There are two positive economic signals to pass along this morning:

-- The Census Bureau says orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent in November from October. That follows a 1.1 percent rise in October from September and is the sixth increase in the past seven months.

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Around the Nation
3:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Long Island Power Authority Faces Commission

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Long Island Power Authority is finally answering questions about its performance after Hurricane Sandy. LIPA, as it's known, is supposed to provide power to New York City's eastern suburbs, but needed weeks to restore power after the storm. Elected officials blasted the utility and executives have now answered questions from state investigators. Charles Lane of member station WSHU reports on what investigators think of the answers.

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Europe
3:19 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Moscovites Window-Shop At GUM For Holiday Ideas

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

If you ever wished the Christmas season could go on for an extra week or two, here's a suggestion: visit Russia, where the Christmas tradition is a little different than in the United States and is celebrated on a different calendar. Of course, a quick flight to Moscow is not convenient for everybody, so NPR's Corey Flintoff did it for us.

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Media
3:18 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Newtown Shooting Prompts 'Bee' Special Edition

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Here's the top headline in last Friday's edition of the Newtown Bee: "Vandalism Leaves Old Headstones Cracked and Damaged." Just hours after that edition of the weekly paper was delivered, Newtown became a headline all over the world. Neena Satija, of member station WNPR, has the story of a small town paper covering - and caring - for its own.

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Business
3:15 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with hard time for another Madoff.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Business
3:15 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Home Mortgage Deduction Is A Big Tax Break

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our regular listeners know by now we've been spending part of this holiday season exploring the tax code. So much of that code is up for debate as fiscal negotiations stagger forward, so we're learning what the rules are in our 12 Days of Tax Deductions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS")

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
2:56 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Plug Pulled On 'Plan B,' House Breaks For Christmas

House Speaker John Boehner pauses during a news conference Thursday. House GOP leaders abruptly canceled a vote on his measure after they failed to round up enough votes for it to pass.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

House Speaker John Boehner was dealt a major defeat Thursday night. After spending most of the week trying to round up votes for his "Plan B" to extend tax cuts for virtually everyone, he pulled the measure without a vote and sent the House home for Christmas. The clock keeps ticking toward the end of the year, when automatic tax increases and spending cuts are set to hit.

Early Thursday, Boehner expressed confidence not only that his bill would pass but that the Democratic-controlled Senate would feel so much pressure, it would be forced to consider it, too.

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Business
2:56 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now you can consider this. It's our last word in business today: A Bluetooth bathroom. The Japanese are known for being on the cutting edge of tech, and now that extends to the edge of the toilet seats.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A Japanese company recently announced a smartphone-controlled toilet. Yup. Using a smartphone app, you can flush - that means not having to touch the handle at all.

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Planet Money
1:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

When The Doctor Works For The Insurance Company

This won't hurt a bit.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Some insurance companies are taking a page out of their own history books: running their own doctors' offices and clinics. Though the strategy previously had mixed results, insurers think that by providing primary care for patients, they might reduce costly diseases and hospital stays in the long run.

Dr. Michael Byrne spent eight years working for a Brooklyn hospital and he saw firsthand why the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world.

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Business
1:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Not Your Grandma's B&B: Traditional Inns Transform For Young Travelers

Innkeepers are combating old stereotypes about bed and breakfasts. The Abbott Room at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, Vt., was renovated in 2009 to reflect more modern tastes.
Jumping Rocks

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

There is a war going on. The enemy is an innocuous little piece of ornamental fabric.

When the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched the Death to Doilies Campaign this year, the approach was tongue-in-cheek, but the message of change was serious: The doily has had the run of bed and breakfasts for too long.

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The Salt
1:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Drought, Economics And Your Holiday Feast

Think your prime rib holiday dinner is more pricey this year? You're right. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Todd Patterson iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Nobody really wants to think about economics, the famously dismal science, while sitting down at a table loaded with love and calories. Like it or not, though, supply and demand drive food production and set the price of dinner.

So, in a season of feasts, what are the business stories on your holiday menu?

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Business
3:07 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

NYSE To Change Hands In $8.2 Billion Deal

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 8:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

After more than two centuries as an independent company, the New York Stock Exchange is about to change hands. It's being acquired by Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, or ICE, as part of a deal valued at $8.2 billion. In recent years, ICE has exploded in growth.

And as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, today's announcement is the latest in a series of rapid-fire changes that have transformed the world of stock trading.

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Shots - Health News
11:47 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes Hit Three-Year High

San Francisco: A "sold" sign in front of a home earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:04 am

There was a 5.9 percent rise in sales of previously owned homes in November from October, the National Association of Realtors says.

At their 5.04 million annual rate, sales were the highest since November 2009.

"Momentum continues to build," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says in the organization's report.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Thu December 20, 2012

NYSE Being Bought For $8.2B By Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:34 pm

The New York Stock Exchange will be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange of Atlanta in a deal valued at about $8.2 billion, the two rivals confirmed Thursday morning.

In matching press releases, they say the sale "combines two leading exchange groups to create a premier global exchange operator diversified across markets including agricultural and energy commodities, credit derivatives, equities and equity derivatives, foreign exchange and interest rates."

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