Business

The Two-Way
8:57 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Mine Disaster Probe Leads To Conspiracy Charges Against Former Executive

Mine helmets and painted crosses at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine, as a memorial to the 29 miners killed there.
Jeff Gentner AP

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:36 am

Federal prosecutors in West Virginia stepped higher up the corporate ladder at Massey Energy Wednesday with new criminal charges stemming from the investigation of the 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 workers.

David C. Hughart was president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group, a major coal mining subsidiary based in Leivasy, W. Va., from 2000 to 2010.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Wed November 28, 2012

New Home Sales Dipped A Bit In October, But Were Well Above Year Before

A sold sign at a new home site in Danville, Calif., earlier this year.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Sales of new homes edged down 0.3 percent in October from September, but were a healthy 17.2 percent above the pace of October 2011, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

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Business
5:48 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Rock Star Parking? Hong Kong Spot Going For $88,000

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 6:08 am

Hong Kong is trying to cool its housing market, so investors are looking for other places to put their money. One Hong Kong developer recently sold 500 spaces for $167,000 each. The $88,000 spot goes on the auction block Thursday.

Business
5:48 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Gift Cards: What's New, What's Hot, What To Avoid

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Like it or not, we are now in holiday shopping season. And for gift givers who are simply stumped about what to get that special or not so special someone, there is always the gift card. They might be derided as impersonal, but Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on gift cards.

To help us sort through the array of gift cards, and also to give us some warnings about fees we might find, we called up Janna Herron. She writes about gift cards for Bankrate.com.

Janna, welcome to the program.

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Business
5:48 am
Wed November 28, 2012

As Battery Demand Falls, Can Energizer Keep Going?

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 4:15 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now, let's turn to today's business bottom line. As more people buy smartphones and other devices that run on rechargeable batteries - this will come as no surprise - sales of single-use, disposable batteries are dropping; and that is not without consequences. Energizer announced this month that the company will close three plants because of decreased demand. That is a 10 percent cut of its global workforce. Vermont Public Radio's Kirk Carapezza reports on one community that is feeling the pain.

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Business
5:48 am
Wed November 28, 2012

HP Mired In Messy Allegations

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

For decades, Hewlett Packard was a Silicon Valley icon. Today, the company is mired in messy allegations about accounting irregularities at a software firm it bought called Autonomy.

From Silicon Valley, NPR's Steve Henn reports Autonomy allegedly inflated its earnings prior to that sale.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Last week, HP's CEO Meg Whitman told investors the company was writing off more than $8 billion in losses, largely because of what happened at Autonomy.

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Business
5:05 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Online Businesses See Cyber Monday Sales Jump

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 5:48 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We begin NPR's business news with some cyber power.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because of all the online shopping deals that are offered up. And this year, online retailers had a field day. A survey by IBM of 500 online businesses found sales jumped 30 percent over last year, as millions of people went online to get their fix of holiday gadgets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Around the Nation
3:13 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Educators Worry Revamped GED Will Be Too Pricey

Administrators at the adult education center are concerned that the GED overhaul will make it harder for many test takers to complete the exam.
Diane Orson WNPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 8:03 am

When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.

"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."

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Europe
4:12 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

For Cyprus' North And South, A Reversal Of Fortunes

Fikri Toros, a Turkish Cypriot businessman, says his family's company struggled for years because of embargoes and a weak Turkish lira. But its fortunes have improved with Turkey's economy.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 4:05 pm

Just a few years ago, Cyprus was considered a wealthy country, though that referred mostly to the Greek Cypriots on the southern part of the divided island. When Cyprus entered the eurozone in 2008, analysts were wondering what would become of the much poorer north, which has been occupied by Turkey since a 1974 war.

Now, the Turks in northern Cyprus have the booming economy, while Greek Cypriots, crippled by exposure to ailing Greek banks, are waiting for final approval on what will be the fourth sovereign bailout of a eurozone country.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Reports: Apple Fires One More Employee In Maps Fiasco

Apple's new iPhone 5 may have been criticised for its glitch-ridden new maps program, but it may have inadvertently provided a diplomatic solution to China and Japan's ongoing row over disputed islands. When a user searches for the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing under the name Diaoyu, two sets of the islands appear alongside each other.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:30 pm

In the aftermath of the maps fiasco, the heads continue to roll at Apple. Today, there is news that one more employee has been let go. This time it was manager Richard Williamson, who oversaw the maps project, who lost his job.

Bloomberg broke the news and it reports:

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Monkey See
9:57 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Is That A Budweiser In Your Hand?: Product Placement, Booze, And Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker in Flight.
Robert Zuckerman Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:22 am

At one point in the film Flight, alcoholic pilot William "Whip" Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, peers into a hotel-room mini-fridge filled with pretty much every type of wine and liquor imaginable.

The shot showcases wine brands Yellow Tail, Barefoot, Sutter Home, plus Amstel Light and Heineken beers — even Red Bull.

This scene raised a lot of questions for me: When has any hotel minibar ever contained so much alcohol? Why has Denzel done three films focusing on transportation –- two trains and now a plane — in as many years?

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Your Money
8:25 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Is It Wise To Bank At Big Box Retailers?

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 10:30 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now to matters of personal finance. If you're one of the millions of people already on the prowl for that hot must-have gift this holiday season, you might have already noticed something new at your favorite big box store and we're not talking about stocking stuffers. More and more of the big box stores are also offering financial products, like home mortgages or small business loans, along with the flat-screen TVs, lumber and paper towels.

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Consumer Confidence Edges Up Again; Reaches Highest Point Since Early 2008

If they're confident, they will shop: Two women carry shopping bags down Manhattan's 34th St. last week.
Andrew Kelly Getty Images

There was a "moderate increase" in American consumers' confidence this month, the private Conference Board just reported.

Its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 from 73.1 in October. The index is the highest it has been since February 2008, when the economy had just fallen into recession and was headed down.

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The Two-Way
7:39 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Home Prices Rose For Sixth Month, Survey Shows

A sold sign at a housing development in Boca Raton, Fla., earlier this month.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The nation's housing market continues to improve, according to the latest look at home prices across the nation from the analysts who put together the

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The Two-Way
6:01 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Deal Reached On Greek Debt, Markets Rise In Relief

Nov. 7: A protester wrapped in a Greek flag stands in front of the parliament in Athens. Today's agreement may not bring an end to anti-austerity protests in Greece.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images
  • Teri Schultz reporting on the deal for the NPR Newscast

There's some good news this morning about the country that's come to symbolize Europe's financial problems and the efforts of leaders to shore up their common economy:

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Business
4:54 am
Tue November 27, 2012

In Dublin, You Can Take A Ride In A 1979 Popemobile

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:31 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Consumers can now offer reviews of their experience riding a popemobile. A Dublin-based company is now offering to rent an old vehicle that was once used to carry Pope John Paul II.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And that's our last word in business today. This is the vehicle that carried the pope during his visit to Ireland in 1979. It is the size of a small school bus. It seats about 15, includes a papal throne.

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Economy
4:43 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Greece Agrees To New Deal With EU Partners, IMF

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:31 am

The agreement will see Greece cut its debt by $51 billion, clearing the way for new loans of around $60 billion. Analysts say this makes it unlikely that Greece will default on its debt or pull out of Europe's currency, the Euro.

U.S.
4:20 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Tough Choices In Baltimore Housing Cleanup

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:31 am

Baltimore has thousands of abandoned houses. It also has one of the nation's most comprehensive programs to clean them up. It focuses on selling houses in neighborhoods near key employers and other attractions, and demolishes buildings in less viable areas of the city. But the plan requires government officials to make some hard choices about which neighborhoods are worth saving.

Europe
4:04 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Britain's Central Bank Picks Canadian As New Chief

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:31 am

The new head of the Bank of England is a Canadian — Mark Carney, currently Canada's central bank chief. It's the first time Britain has chosen a noncitizen to lead its central bank.

The Salt
3:32 am
Tue November 27, 2012

For Restaurants, Food Waste Is Seen As Low Priority

The National Restaurant Association says getting restaurants to focus on the food waste problem is a big challenge.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 5:24 pm

A row of restaurants in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., looks tantalizing — there's Vietnamese, Italian, New American.

But if you walk around to the alley at the back of this row you might gag.
Dumpsters packed with trash are lined up, and they get emptied only twice a week. Which means a lot of food sits here, filling the block with a deep, rank odor.

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It's All Politics
3:30 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Compromise: Devil Is In The Definition Of Revenue

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 10:29 am

A grand bargain, a compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, could all come down to one word: revenue. It's now widely agreed that steering away from the cliff — the combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year — will require some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. The central sticking point could well be whether President Obama and Congress can agree on the definition of revenue.

At the moment, the casual observer could easily get the sense that the president and Republicans in Congress are talking past each other.

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Monkey See
3:04 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Running A Comedy Machine: How Chuck Lorre Makes Hits

Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory, one of Chuck Lorre's three popular comedies currently on CBS.
Sonja Flemming CBS

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:51 pm

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.

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Your Money
2:29 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Companies That Were 'Naughty And Nice' In 2012

Consumer Reports." href="/post/companies-were-naughty-and-nice-2012" class="noexit lightbox">
The no-questions-asked return policy of the Kohl's department store chain helped it win a spot on the "Naughty and Nice" list compiled by Consumer Reports.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:31 am

For holiday shoppers, retailers' approach to fees, returns and other practices can bring praise or anger. And when customers rant or rave, Consumer Reports takes note — and compiles them into its annual "Naughty and Nice" list of companies.

"They're policies and practices that people either felt were consumer-friendly or not," Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. He adds that the list isn't related to the ratings his magazine is known for.

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Business
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Holiday Season May Be A Good One For U.S. Retailers

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

Cyber Monday saw a big retail push following a Black Friday that expanded into Thanksgiving Day. The big question now is whether all the early shopping will boost total holiday sales or just push them up earlier on the calendar.

Business
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Head Of SEC To Step Down After Four Years

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairwoman Mary Schapiro is stepping down. She took over the agency in 2009 as it was reeling from criticism over the financial crisis and the Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Schapiro is credited as a consensus builder who restored some stability to the SEC. She is being replaced by SEC commissioner Elisse Walter.

Books
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Independent Bookstores Find Their Footing

President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia go shopping at a small bookstore, One More Page, in Arlington, Va. This is shaping up to be a better holiday season for independent booksellers than in past years.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

In recent years, the start of the holiday shopping season has meant nothing but gloom for independent bookstores. But this year, the mood seems to be lifting, and a lot of booksellers are feeling optimistic. Even President Obama kicked off his Christmas shopping at a neighborhood bookstore in Northern Virginia.

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Business
2:19 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

A Jolly Christmas? Retailers Count The Extra Days

Shoppers line up in a Best Buy store in Rockville, Md., during a Black Friday sale. Thanksgiving weekend sales jumped nearly 13 percent from last year, the National Retail Federation says.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 6:49 am

For merchants, the stars are lining up — at least so far.

Online shopping jumped more than 28 percent on Cyber Monday compared with a year ago, according to IBM Benchmark. And the National Retail Federation says Thanksgiving weekend spending shot up to $59.1 billion, nearly 13 percent more than last year's $52 billion.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

News Outlets Punk'd, Somebody Profits: Google Wi-Fi Buy Is A Hoax

Google.com

This Associated Press report today wasn't true:

"Google has bought an operator of Wi-Fi hotspots in high-traffic locations such as airports, hotels and fast-food restaurants. Google Inc. is paying $400 million for ICOA Inc., a Warwick, R.I., company, as part of the search company's efforts to diversify its portfolio."

It was so wrong, in fact, that the AP later moved a "KILL BULLETIN" saying it was:

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Mon November 26, 2012

SEC Chief Schapiro Is Leaving

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 10:15 am

(We updated the top of this post at 11:50 a.m. and 12:15 p.m ET):

Moving quickly after the announcement that Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro is leaving on Dec. 14, the White House just said that President Obama has designated SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to be her replacement.

In a statement, the president says:

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The Two-Way
5:36 am
Mon November 26, 2012

'Cyber Monday,' 'Giving Tuesday;' Then 'Weeping Wednesday?'

The scene at the registers in a Braintree, Mass., Target store on Black Friday.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:15 am

After Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and No Clever Name For It Sunday, we're on to Cyb

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