Business

Planet Money
4:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Sorry, Mom: The Toyota Avalon Is The Most American Car Made Today

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 1:26 pm

I grew up in a car family. Not car enthusiasts; car makers. My grandfather worked for General Motors in Detroit on the assembly line beginning in the 1940s. My mother was a middle manager at Ford's Chicago assembly plant in the '70s. I worked at the same plant during summers in the '90s. Today, one of my cousins works for Chrysler and another works for an auto supplier.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Some Restaurants In Israel Declare A Kosher Rebellion

Israelis eat at a kosher McDonald's restaurant in Tel Aviv.
David Silverman Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:41 am

The Carousela cafe in West Jerusalem is one of a handful of restaurants and cafes in Israel staging a bit of a rebellion by defying Jewish religious authorities who claim they are the only ones who can certify restaurants as kosher, or in compliance with Jewish dietary laws.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Say It Ain't So, Joe: Bazooka Bubble Gum Is Killing Its Tiny Comics

The latest "comic of the week" on Bazooka Bubble Gum's Facebook page.
Bazooka Bubble Gum

Many of us are still not over the demise of Twinkies. Now there's this.

Bazooka Bubble Gum is redoing is packaging and, says The New York Times:

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The Salt
10:32 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Booches' Famous Burgers Seek New Buns After Hostess Plant Closes

A softly-lit Booches' burger, back in the days of the Hostess bun.
Genevieve Howard Flickr.com

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 12:57 pm

Twinkie hoarders, artists, and Ding Dong enthusiasts weren't the only consumers affected when Hostess started shutting down plants across America just a few weeks ago.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Consumer Spending Dipped In October; Superstorm Sandy Blamed

Nov. 17: A sign in a Staten Island storefront tells a lot. It was still closed because of the damage done by Superstorm Sandy in late October.
Mario Tama Getty Images

The economic effects of Superstorm Sandy continue to be felt. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumer spending edged down 0.2 percent in October from September, and personal income dipped 0.1 percent.

As Bloomberg News says, "Sandy kept some in the Northeast from getting to work or from shopping at malls and car dealerships."

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Business
4:09 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Are 'Pac-Man,' 'Tetris' Art? MOMA Says Yes

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Sim City is also among the first 14 titles in the Museum of Modern Art's new video game collection. The New York City museum's website says video games are not only art, they're design. And design is among the selection criteria — along with cultural relevance. MOMA hopes to have about 40 titles when the exhibit opens in March.

Business
4:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

European Bank Chief: 2013 Will Be Better For Euro

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

The president of the European Central Bank said Friday that the eurozone has yet to emerge from its economic crisis but is on a path to see a recovery by the second half of 2013. But there are still many challenges. Just after that interview, new numbers showed unemployment in the euro zone rose to a record 11.7 percent in October.

Sports
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

How David Beckham Changed U.S. Soccer

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Five years after his much-hyped arrival in the United States, David Beckham is playing his last game for the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday. David Greene speaks with Los Angeles Times sportswriter Kevin Baxter about whether Beckham lived up to America's expectations.

Politics
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Debate Moves To TV, In Ad War

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Just when you thought you never had to look at another political ad, they're back — this time focused on the big debate in Washington about taxes and spending. Unions, business groups and other special interests have taken their arguments to the nation's living rooms and computer screens.

Business
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

N.Y. Fast-Food Workers Strike For Better Wages

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:05 am

Fast-food workers staged protests Thursday at restaurants in New York. The workers said their low wages need to be raised. But with the economy still slow, restaurant managers are determined to hold down labor costs so they can offer dollar foods.

It's All Politics
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

How Much Income Taxes Could Rise: A Breakdown Of The Options

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday after private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 8:46 am

"No substantive progress has been made." That's what House Speaker John Boehner had to say Thursday about efforts to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases at year's end.

The administration's lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, met with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle Thursday, looking for an agreement on the hazard Congress and the White House created last year to focus their minds on deficit reduction.

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Planet Money
3:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Why Mexico Is The World's Biggest Exporter Of Flat-Screen TVs

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 9:04 am

Most of the news we hear about Mexico these days is about drug-related violence. But it turns out there's another, brighter story there: The country's economy has been growing at a solid pace for the past couple years, driven in large part by solid exports.

Among other things, Mexico is the world's largest exporter of flat-screen TVs. There are a lot of factories just south of the U.S. border, filled with workers putting together televisions. The individual parts come from Asia, but the final assembly is done in Mexico.

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Business
3:25 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

A Bet Or A Prediction? Intrade's Purpose Is Debated

Ireland-based Intrade lets users bet money on all manner of predictions — like if a particular film will win an Oscar. The site is ceasing operations in the U.S.
NPR/Intrade screen grab

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:02 pm

The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.

This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.

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All Tech Considered
3:25 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Yet Another Shift In Facebook Policies Raises Privacy Concerns

Joerg Koch AP

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:37 pm

Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.

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Business
3:25 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Lower Water Levels Dry Up Business On Great Lakes

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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It's All Politics
2:51 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Would Raising Taxes On Investment Income Hurt The Economy?

A screen grab from an ad by the Defend My Dividend campaign, which is funded by utilities and other companies. They don't support a proposed increase in taxes from investment income.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:53 pm

As Democratic and Republican leaders try to work out a deal to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax increases of the fiscal cliff, one area they're zeroing in on is investment income.

Raising the rates on capital gains and dividends, even just for the wealthy, would bring in $240 billion over the next decade. That makes them an easy place to look for new revenue.

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The Salt
1:44 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Tastier Winter Tomatoes, Thanks to A Boom in Greenhouse Growing

The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Allison Aubrey NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:36 am

It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.

But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.

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The Salt
10:33 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Quinoa Craze Inspires North America To Start Growing Its Own

The seeds of this goosefoot plant are known as quinoa, a superfood now in high demand and grown almost exclusively in South America. But some growers think they have the formula to grow it up north.
Janet Matanguihan courtesy Kevin Murphy

The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.

But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.

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Politics
9:54 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Will Payroll Tax Cut Survive Fiscal Talks?

The Bush-era tax cuts are taking center stage on discussions about deficit reduction. But the payroll tax holiday is also at risk, which could cost the typical family $1,000 a year. Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy about the fiscal cliff and how the outcome could affect consumers.

It's All Politics
8:10 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Why Dividends, Capital Gains Are Big Part Of Fiscal Cliff Talks

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 11:58 am

As the White House and Congress debate how to steer clear of the fiscal cliff, one obstacle is the president's insistence that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. And one way that could happen is through changing the rules for dividends and capital gains.

If you own a share of stock in a company today, when the company pays out a dividend, the most you're taxed is 15 percent. And if you decide to sell the stock and cash out, you'd also pay 15 percent on your profits — the capital gains.

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Media
7:18 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Report Proposes Tougher Oversight For British Press

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Britain, Brian Leveson, the judge who has spent eight months probing tabloid news excesses, has just issued his suggestions for reigning in Britain's sometime-rambunctious press. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the wide-ranging inquiry in the wake of revelations of illegal phone-hacking at the Murdoch-owned News of the World and other newspapers. The victims included actors Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, as well as the parents of a murdered teenager and other crime victims.

Journalist Vicki Barker joins us from London.

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The Salt
6:59 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Key To E. Coli-Free Spinach May Be An Ultrasonic Spa Treatment

Spinach has lots of opportunities to pick up E. coli and other bugs during harvest and growing. Here, a Mexican migrant worker cuts organic spinach during the fall harvest at Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Co.
John Moore Getty Images

Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Third-Quarter Economic Growth Revised Upward

Better than expected: Economic growth was higher in the third quarter than first thought. Here, a worker at a Ford plant in Michigan plugs a batter into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says. That's a sharp upward revision in its estimate of gross domestic product growth from mid-summer into the fall. In its first look at the quarter's GDP, the agency estimated growth at a 2 percent annual rate.

According to BEA, consumer spending, inventory investment, exports and federal spending all contributed to growth from July 1 through Sept. 30.

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Business
6:19 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Companies Rush Dividends To Beat Possible Tax Hike

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
6:19 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Obama's Plan For Dividends, Gains: Who Would Pay?

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

In the latest effort to avoid the automatic fiscal cliff tax hikes and spending cuts, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meets today with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.

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Business
5:43 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Contract Ban, Civil Litigation Add To BP's Woes

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The multinational oil firm BP is being taken to account for the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday, the Obama administration banned BP from any new contacts with the federal government, citing, quote, "a lack of business integrity" related to the spill - that after BP admitted criminal wrongdoing in its recent settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.

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Europe
5:43 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Judge's Report Due On Regulating British Press

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Later this morning, a British judge who spent eight months investigating the excesses of the nation's media will issue his suggestions for how to rein in the sometimes rambunctious British press. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the wide-ranging inquiry in the wake of revelations of illegal phone hacking at The Tabloid News of the World and other papers owned by Rupert Murdoch.

But as Vicki Barker reports, Cameron's likely to face an uproar whether or not he accepts Brian Leveson's recommendations.

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Business
5:43 am
Thu November 29, 2012

N.Y. Electrician Shortage Hampers Sandy Recovery

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:26 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's been a month since Sandy made landfall in the northeast. For millions in that big storm's path, life is returning to normal - not for tens of thousands of people in New York City who still, still don't have electricity or heat. Many of them are waiting for an electrician to come to repair or certify wiring that was damaged by all the flooding. But as NPR's Joel Rose reports, there aren't enough electricians to go around.

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Business
5:28 am
Thu November 29, 2012

GM Plans $1 Billion Auto Factory In China

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with GM investing in China.

General Motors says it's building a $1 billion factory with its joint venture partners in China. It's set to open in 2015 and will be the third GM plant in what is now the world's biggest auto market. The company hopes the plant will eventually produce up to two million vehicles a year. Auto sales in China are expected to hit 20 million this year - about five million more than in the U.S. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Business
5:25 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Amazon's 'Prime' Customers Get A Deal On Hefty Safe

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 7:18 am

Amazon's"Prime" service — at $79 a year — includes free two-day delivery on any item Amazon stocks. That includes, according to the Wall Street Journal, a 1,500-pound safe. The company that makes the safe says it usually ships for $700.

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