Business

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

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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Business
4:05 am
Mon November 26, 2012

How Much Would '12 Days Of Christmas' Cost This Year?

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 7:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. If you love is not into Legos, you might consider buying the gifts from the song "The 12 Days of Christmas." But it's going to cost you. Today's last word in business is: Christmas Price Index.

Each year, PNC Wealth Management adds up all 364 items in the old Christmas carol, you know, the swans, the geese, the golden rings - and comes up with a price tag. This year the presents will set you back more than $107,000. That's up more than six percent from last year.

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Business
3:18 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Is Charging Customers For Returns Bad Business?

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 7:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR News business news starts with a shopping bonanza.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: American shoppers turned out in record numbers over the holiday weekend. The National Retail Federation says that since Thursday some 247 million people - that would be most of us - visited brick and mortar stores and retail websites spending more than $59 billion - up 13 percent over last year. And now, with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday behind us, online retailers get to take center stage with Cyber Monday.

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The Salt
2:50 am
Mon November 26, 2012

At His Own Risk, Somali Chef Creates Gourmet Haven In War-Weary Mogadishu

Somali chef Ahmed Jama holds up freshly caught spiny lobsters he's about to cook in one of his restaurants in Mogadishu.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:48 pm

Ahmed Jama was running a successful Somali cafe in southwest London when he decided it was time to go home. Against the urgent advice of friends, he returned to Mogadishu three years ago and started cooking.

Jama epitomizes the spirit of rebirth in the city that has been brutalized by 21 years of civil war. As expatriates return to take their homeland back from warlords, terrorists and looters, Jama is doing his part to revive Mogadishu one prawn at a time.

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Business
2:50 am
Mon November 26, 2012

An Entrepreneur Expands The Lego Universe

The bodies of these World War II U.S. Marines and Western Front soldiers are made by Lego, while the helmets and weapons are made by BrickArms. The uniforms are designed and printed by BrickArms.
Will Chapman

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:49 pm

Lots of good business ideas have emerged from kids' play. Seattle-area resident Will Chapman could thank his youngest son. At the age of 9, he wanted to know all he could about World War II and was using Lego toys to act out history. But his son was stymied — he couldn't find all the pieces he wanted.

Each year Lego turns out 19 billion plastic bricks, figures and gears for building things. But sometimes, it seems, even 19 billion isn't enough.

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U.S.
2:49 am
Mon November 26, 2012

'Giving Tuesday': The Start Of A Holiday Tradition?

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 2:50 pm

First, there was the post-Thanksgiving sales spectacle Black Friday and then the online version, Cyber Monday. Now, charitable groups want to start a new holiday tradition — it's called Giving Tuesday and the first one is tomorrow.

It may seem a little surprising that no one came up with the idea before of designating a specific day to help launch the holiday charitable giving season.

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Business
4:34 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Retail Arms Race Escalates To New Level

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In American retail history, this may be the year that Black Friday shaded into Thursday night. Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, several other retailers opened on Thursday night, Thanksgiving night, and on Friday, many other online retailers offered flash sales - special deals lasting just a couple of hours. Patty Edwards is the chief investment officer for Trutina Financial, a financial services firm in Washington state. She joins us from member station KUOW in Seattle. Thanks so much for being with us.

PATTY EDWARDS: Absolutely my pleasure.

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Europe
3:43 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Glitzy Burgundy Wine Auction Taps Celebrities

France's former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, auctioneer Francois de Ricqles and former soccer coach Guy Roux preside over the 152nd Hospices de Beaune wine auction Sunday in Beaune, France. The charity auction raised an all-time high of $7.5 million, which goes to area hospitals.
Tardivon Jean-Christophe Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 12:09 pm

For the last century and a half, the wine season in France's grape-growing region of Burgundy has revolved around one major commercial event. On the third Sunday in November, hundreds of barrels of the recent harvest are sold to the highest bidder in a charity wine auction. The historic event, which took place this year on Nov. 18, has evolved into an A-list rendezvous for the power players in the international wine industry.

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Business
3:22 am
Sat November 24, 2012

More Shopping? Small Retailers Want Your Business

A flag urges customers to shop locally near a store in Boalsburg, Pa., on Friday. Owners of small stores hope to get a boost from Small Business Saturday.
Genaro C. Armas AP

Originally published on Sat November 24, 2012 11:04 am

Jammed between Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is yet another day devoted to shopping: Small Business Saturday.

Wallets are expected to open yet again on Saturday — this time for mom-and-pop stores. Main Street in Littleton, Colo., is filled with them. The street is lined with small bars and restaurants along with other businesses, including a spice store and a men's clothing boutique.

Dave Drake owns Colorado Frame and Savvy Stuff, the "savvy stuff" being women's accessories, purses, scarves and decorations.

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The Picture Show
8:23 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Don't Like Shopping? Take Pictures Instead

black_friday_buy1.jpg
Courtesy of Sandy Carson

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:36 pm

If you like photographing, but are somehow not enticed by long lines, getting elbowed in the ribs and cut off by shopping carts in pursuit of a red tag sale, Picture Black Friday might give you another excuse to get out there today.

"I think there are enough people turning the economy over," says Sandy Carson. "I'd rather just make photos and be an observer."

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Why 'Black Friday' Has Dark Roots

People waited in line to make purchases at a Macy's department store in New York during last year's "Black Friday" shopping weekend.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 11:43 am

Black Friday may not yet be a bigger holiday than Thanksgiving, but it certainly has a bigger marketing budget. Retailers may have needed it to overcome the term's long and negative history.

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Business
2:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 11:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Today's last word in business is busting the doorbusters.

Shoppers are heading out to stores today. Many went shopping overnight to seize those Black Friday bargains. But are the deals really unbeatable?

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

No. Not according to an analysis by pricing research firm Decide Incorporated and The Wall Street Journal. They found that many products with so-called doorbuster deals had deals that were available at even lower prices at other times of the year - even at the same retailer.

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Business
2:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Cyprus Natural Gas

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 11:53 am

The tiny eastern Mediterranean country of Cyprus is expected to become the fifth eurozone nation to receive a bailout. But the island-nation, which is about half the size of Connecticut, could soon access a massive treasure under the sea: natural gas.

If all goes well, Cyprus could start making more than $25 billion a year — about the same as the country's current GDP — starting as early as 2015, says Solon Kassinis. Twenty years ago, few listened to the engineer when he said there was gas and oil under the seabed.

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Business
2:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 11:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a Greek debt plan.

Europe
1:36 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Burgundy's Yield Fails To Meet Grape Expectations

Workers pick fruit Sept. 22 during the grape harvest at the Gevrey-Chambertin vineyard in France's Burgundy region. Bad weather has reduced the grape yield by as much as 70 percent in some vineyards.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 3:09 pm

Neat rows of grapevines run down the slopes of the Cotes de Beaune, all the way to the gravel driveway at Chateau de Corton Andre. The castle's traditional Burgundy black-and-yellow-tiled roof glistens in the autumn sun.

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