Business

The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

SunTrust Settles In Probe Into Mishandled Home Loan Modifications

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 4:54 pm

Atlanta-based SunTrust Mortgage Inc. has agreed to pay up to $320 million to resolve criminal allegations that it mishandled applications from homeowners seeking loan modifications under a federal program.

The deal with the Justice Department follows a similar settlement last month with SunTrust Mortgage over its mishandling of federally backed home loans.

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All Tech Considered
3:19 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

In A Battle For Web Traffic, Bad Bots Are Going After Grandma

By hijacking a user's computer, "bad" bots make it look as if she visits a website often, thus making the site more valuable to advertisers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 9:05 am

As the Web turns 25, it's becoming a terrific place if you're a bot.

It began as a tool for human communication, but now, over 60 percent of the traffic on the Web is automated applications called bots talking to other bots, according to one study. And experts say about half of those bots are bad.

But first let's talk about the good bots.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Jobs Numbers Buoy Dow Above 17,000 For The First Time

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 2:52 pm

The Dow Jones closed above 17,000 for the first time in its history on Thursday. The index was buoyed by better-than-expected news from the jobs market.

As we reported, the Labor Department announced that U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate dipped to 6.1 percent.

It was the fifth consecutive month that employers had added more than 200,000 jobs.

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Business
2:09 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Export-Import Controversy Gives Rise To A Tale Of Two Washingtons

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 4:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A debate has been raging in Washington, D.C. over the future of an obscure federal agency - the Export-Import Bank. And all the way across the country in the other Washington - Washington state - businesses, labor unions and politicians say the bank's demise would have severe consequences. Ashley Gross of member station KPLU in Seattle reports.

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Economy
2:03 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Hiring Looks Good Now, But Wage Growth Lags

A Gap employee works at a store in San Francisco. The company plans to raise its minimum wage in phases to $10 an hour by next year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 3:12 pm

The unemployment report released Thursday by the Labor Department offered great news for job seekers: Hiring boomed in June.

That good news helped send stock prices to record levels, with the Dow Jones industrial average crossing the 17,000 mark for the first time to close at 17,068.26, up 92.02.

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U.S.
11:50 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Federal Highway Program Could Run Out Of Money Next Month

The White House has warned that without more money for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which helps states pay for road and infrastructure projects, construction delays will put thousands out of work.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 1:35 pm

Congress has yet another problem it can't solve.

For years, the main federal transportation program has been spending more money than it takes in. This year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Transportation Department will disburse $45 billion while collecting only $33 billion for its Highway Trust Fund.

As a result, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx warned states on Tuesday that they will start seeing cuts of 28 percent in federal funding for roads and bridges next month unless Congress comes up with some extra money.

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Economy
11:41 am
Thu July 3, 2014

New Jobs Numbers: Has Economic Recovery Reached A Tipping Point?

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 3:13 pm

The economy added 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. NPR's Marilyn Geewax and The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy discuss the latest jobs report.

Planet Money
8:35 am
Thu July 3, 2014

How Every U.S. State Has Fared Since The Recession, In 1 Graph

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

This spring, the U.S. finally gained back all the jobs that were lost during the recession. In other words, the number of jobs in the country is now higher than it was back in January 2008, at the beginning of the recession.

But the jobs are different — and they're in different places. In a handful of states, there are lots more jobs than there used to be. But in many others, there are still far fewer jobs than there were before the recession.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Germany Votes For First-Ever Minimum Wage, Around $11.50

German Labor and Social Affairs Minister Andrea Nahles (center) and Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) cast their votes for a national minimum wage Thursday. The legislation sets a requirement of more than $11.50 in hourly pay.
Clemens Bilan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 12:15 pm

German lawmakers have approved a minimum hourly wage of 8.50 euros, backing a controversial proposal that would cover many workers starting next year. The amount is equal to more than $11.50 at today's exchange rate.

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All Tech Considered
7:58 am
Thu July 3, 2014

The Future Internet Is Not So Free Or Open, In Pew's New Survey

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 9:04 am

What we know as the World Wide Web — the main way by which most of us access the Internet — just turned 25 this year. Its existence has allowed for all kinds of learning and free expression, coding and making, rule-breaking and platform-making.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Thu July 3, 2014

U.S. Added 288,000 Jobs In June, Labor Department Says

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 11:27 am

Analysts' expectations of continued growth in the jobs report for June were surpassed by federal data issued this morning, as the Labor Department says U.S. employers added 288,000 jobs last month. The government released the numbers one day early because of the July 4 holiday.

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET: 288,000 Jobs Added

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1 percent," the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

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Business
4:07 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Before The Holiday Weekend, Latest Jobless Report Is Issued

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We'll get an important snapshot of the U.S. economy today. The job market in this country has been racking up some healthy gains over the past few months. That trend is expected to continue. We'll find out if it does when the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report later this morning. Here's a preview from NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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NPR Story
3:18 am
Thu July 3, 2014

China Announces Another Easing Of Its Currency Controls

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR Story
3:18 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling Yields Polarized Debate

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now let's get one more perspective on a deeply polarized debate, a debate set off by this week's Supreme Court ruling in a case brought by the craft store chain Hobby Lobby. The court found that some business owners with religious objections to contraceptives cannot be required to provide them to their employees with their health insurance plans. But does that ruling end there? Our Steve Inskeep digs deeper into what's fueling this debate.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
1:09 am
Thu July 3, 2014

An Uncertain Future For The U.S. Terrorism Insurance Program

If the government scales back its terrorism insurance program, the cost of doing business in America's downtowns could rise significantly.
Gary Hershorn/Insider Images EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 10:16 am

If terrorists were to attack a U.S. city again, who would pay for catastrophic damage? In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York, Congress provided the answer: the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

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The Salt
3:37 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Big Bucks From Strawberry Genes Lead To Conflict At UC Davis

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 4:26 pm

Yesterday, we reported on a legal tussle over control of the country's top center of strawberry breeding, at the University of California, Davis. But there's a backstory to that battle. It involves the peculiar nature of the UC Davis strawberry program.

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Around the Nation
3:31 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Florida County Goes To Court Over 'Acid Fracking' Near Everglades

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:20 pm

In southwest Florida, county officials are fighting the state over a new oil drilling process that's known by many different names: acidification, acidizing, acid stimulation and acid fracking.

Collier County has charged that state regulators have been lax in their oversight of the drilling, jeopardizing public health and the environment.

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Facebook's Sandberg Apologizes For Newsfeed Experiment

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg addresses an interactive session organized by the women's wing of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Chandan Khanna AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:10 pm

Facebook's No. 2 executive apologized on Wednesday over an experiment that manipulated the news feeds of more than 600,000 users.

The Wall Street Journal reports Sheryl Sandberg said the study was communicated "poorly." The paper adds:

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Planet Money
2:17 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

The Company Where Everyone Knows Everyone Else's Salary

Paycheck
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:20 pm

Dane Atkinson is a tech entrepreneur who started his first company at 17 and has run almost a dozen more since. He's so friendly that he manages to sound cheerful while explaining the art of hiring workers for as little money possible.

"I have on many occasions paid the exact same skill set wildly different fees because I was able to negotiate with one person better than another," he says.

Some employees were worth $70,000 a year, but only asked for $50,000 a year. So, he says, he paid them $50,000 a year.

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Business
2:06 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

It's The Year Of The Recall, And It Finds GM Busy

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. It's the year of recalls in the auto industry, especially for General Motors. This week GM announced another slew of them, bringing its total to 54 recalls this year. Other automakers are also recalling more vehicles, but it's at GM where the pace is so fast, that it's hard to keep track. But NPR's Sonari Glinton is keeping track and he now joins us to talk about how the company is handling all of these recalls. Hi, Sonari.

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All Tech Considered
12:48 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

This Week's Innovation: Slippers That Fit Like A Second Skin

The slipper is made from thermosetting PVC material. Designer Satsuki Ohata claims that once it hardens to your foot's individual shape, the slippers can be worn inside and outside.
Satsuku Ohata

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 1:12 pm

If you've ever struggled with finding shoes that fit your feet perfectly, take heart. A Japanese designer has taken that universal need to a whole new level — and it all started with cheese.

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Business
11:39 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Unions Fear High Court's Ruling Opens Door To More Trouble

The Supreme Court decision held that health care workers could not be forced to pay fees to the union recognized by the state of Illinois, because the state is not their direct employer. Some fear this will lead to further erosion of unions.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

It wasn't the worst possible outcome for public sector unions. But that could still happen.

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The Salt
8:32 am
Wed July 2, 2014

'Frobot' Creator: Taking Frozen Yogurt Where It's Never Been Before

Mallika Padmanabhan (left) and Joshua Margolin order frozen yogurt from the Frobot in Washington, D.C.
Nicholas St. Fleur/NPR

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 3:32 pm

There has been a lot of talk of disrupting the food system lately. Bill Gates, among others, has said the way we produce meat is hugely inefficient — and is crying for Silicon Valley-style disruption. That's why he's investing in chicken-less eggs.

But frozen yogurt?

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Book News: Amazon Defends Negotiating Tactics In Hachette Fight

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 6:50 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Business
4:58 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Despite Recalls, GM Sales Jump By 1 Percent

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Business
4:58 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Number Of U.S. Breweries Is On The Rise

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:53 am

Between 2007 and 2012, Census Bureau data show the number of breweries in the U.S. more than doubled to 869. And shipments from those breweries went up almost 34 percent.

Business
3:11 am
Wed July 2, 2014

T-Mobile Accused Of Billing Customers With Bogus Fees

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 12:04 pm

The Federal Trade Commission says the illegal charges were for premium services customers didn't order. T-Mobile says the suit is unfounded, and that it stopped billing for the services last year.

Business
3:09 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Reliance On Systems At P&G Could Help VA Nominee McDonald

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:53 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Obama has nominated a former Army ranger to take over the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert McDonald is also the former CEO of Procter & Gamble. He spoke on Monday about the challenges he'll face if confirmed to head the VA.

ROBERT MCDONALD: At Procter & Gamble, we always focus on our customer. At the VA, the veteran is our customer. And we must all focus all day, every day on getting them the benefits and the care that they so earned.

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Economy
2:11 am
Wed July 2, 2014

A 'Lost Generation Of Workers': The Cost Of Youth Unemployment

Alexandria Roberts, 23, recently graduated from the University of Nevada but hasn't been able to find full-time work. She plans to join the military soon, unless her employment situation changes.
Will Stone Reno Public Radio

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 4:21 pm

It makes some sense that young people might work less than their older counterparts. They are figuring out their lives, going in and out of school and making more short-term plans.

But a whopping 5.8 million young people are neither in school nor working. It is "a completely different situation than we've seen in the past," says Elisabeth Jacobs, the senior director for policy and academic programs at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

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Around the Nation
2:01 am
Wed July 2, 2014

For Sale: Vacant Lots On Chicago Blocks, Just $1 Each

Sonya Harper picks peppermint she's been growing in a vacant lot on her block in Chicago. With her neighbors, she's hoping to acquire two adjacent overgrown lots under the city's "Large Lot Program" so they can expand the community garden.
David Schaper

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 12:08 pm

Chicago is practically giving away land: vacant lots for just $1 each. The catch? To buy one, you must already own a home on the same block.

Like many U.S. cities, Chicago has struggled with what to do with a growing number of empty lots in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. Efforts to develop affordable housing or urban farms have had some mixed results.

So Chicago officials and community development advocates hope the vacant lot program can help spark a renewal in some of the city's most blighted areas.

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