Business

Economy
4:49 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Gobal Economy Outlook Looks Grim

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Finance ministers and central bankers from around the world are on their way to Tokyo for their annual get-together, sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The mood, at the moment, about the global economy, is worried. In fact, the IMF has just called the risk of a worldwide slowdown alarmingly high.

To find out more, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel. He's economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Good morning.

DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Renee.

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Books
4:49 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Publisher Sues Authors Who Don't Produce Manuscripts

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A lot of would-be professional writers dream of someday getting a book contract that includes an advance, enough money, paid upfront, to let them quit their day job and write full time.

Of course, those advances do come with an expectation that an author will actually write the book. The Penguin Publishing Group recently filed suit against a dozen authors who failed to produce manuscripts after getting an advances.

NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

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Business
4:49 am
Tue October 9, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is a race at the drive-through. When it comes to fast food, Wendy's is winning the drive-through speed test. That's according to a new study from an industry magazine.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Wendy's customers wait an average of two minutes and 10 seconds for their meals, 20 seconds faster than the runner-up, Taco Bell.

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NPR Story
4:27 am
Tue October 9, 2012

U.S., India Try To Boost Economic Ties

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a passage to India.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meet their counterparts in India today. The U.S. wants to boost economic ties with the country that it on its way to becoming the most populous in the world. Talks have been pushed forward by India's new liberalizing economic reforms.

NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Delhi.

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Solve This
2:53 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney's Jobs Plan Relies On His Tax Proposal

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands during a rainy campaign rally Monday in Newport News, Va.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

As part of Solve This, NPR's series on major issues facing the country, we're examining the presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. After looking at President Obama's strategy, it's time to examine the plan of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

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All Tech Considered
5:15 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Baseball Autographs Get A Digital Upgrade

Sarah Wagner shows off an Egraph of Kerry Wood, her favorite Cubs player.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:39 am

On her 22nd birthday this summer, Sarah Wagner of suburban Wheaton, Ill., who describes herself as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, opened an email to find an incredible surprise — a recorded message from her favorite Cubs player:

"Hey, Sarah! Kerry Wood here! Thanks for your message and I hope you're having a great summer!"

"When I heard for the first time, I instantly smiled," says Wagner. "I think my hands probably went over like my mouth, like, 'Oh my gosh, Kerry Wood is talking to me, even though he has no idea who I am!' "

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Business
2:30 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Plucky Former Poultry Farmer Goes Wild For Gators

A group of baby gators basking in the sun.
jganser iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 7:29 pm

Just outside of Camilla, Ga. — about four hours southwest of Atlanta — up a dirt road called Alligator Lane, is one of the largest alligator farms in the country.

"We've got about 20 chicken houses, and we've got about 100,000 alligators on the farm," says owner Mark Glass.

That's right, 100,000 alligators, and they are in big demand in Europe's high-fashion industry.

Right now it's hatching season.

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Business
2:35 am
Mon October 8, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 4:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is about a Washington, D.C. company stepping up to the plate for a PR pinch hit. LivingSocial is a daily discount website that competes with Groupon. It's based in Washington, D.C., and is offering a sweet deal to its hometown baseball fans.

You see, the Washington Nationals are in the Major League Baseball playoffs this year, but these games start and end late after public transit has closed. So in the past, pro sports organizations have paid deposits to keep the Metro system running overtime.

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Business
2:12 am
Mon October 8, 2012

What's Going Wrong With China's Solar Industry?

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Which brings us to our next story. As Americans try again to heat up the solar industry, let's get an update on the competition. We reported last week on the West Coast solar power company that is trying to succeed where companies like Solyndra famously failed. American companies have struggled because they've been undermined by cheap imports from China. So it is meaningful to note that China's solar power industry is a mess.

We're going to talk about that with Beijing-based economist Patrick Chovanec. Welcome back to the program.

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NPR Story
2:12 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 4:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with slower growth in East Asia.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: That prediction comes from a World Bank report released today. The bank warns of a deeper and longer slowdown in the region caused by weak exports and weak domestic demand.

Economy
4:05 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Reading Between The Candidates' Economic Lines

A for-sale sign hangs in front of a Homestead, Fla., home. In terms of the housing market, the presidential candidates differ most on regulation.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:17 am

As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a new segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, we answer inquiries about the candidates' policies on housing and taxes.

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Presidential Race
4:04 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Taxes Are Certain, But What About Romney's Cuts?

Supporters watch Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak on Friday in Abingdon, Va. Romney started off his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but has backed off that somewhat.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:24 am

Republican Mitt Romney started his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but now he has changed course. He's warning middle-class families not to raise their hopes too high.

Romney couldn't have been more emphatic than he was last November at a candidates' debate in Michigan.

"What I want to do is help the people who've been hurt the most, and that's the middle class," he said. "And so what I do is focus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans."

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Economy
3:29 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Unemployment Numbers Are Kept Under Guard

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And undoubtedly, the president and Governor Romney were up early Friday morning reading and eagerly awaiting the unemployment numbers. Almost immediately after they were announced, theories began to circulate that maybe, just maybe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was cooking the books to help the president's re-election.

Back in August, Caitlin Kenney of NPR's Planet Money team went to investigate just why those numbers are such a closely held secret.

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Business
3:20 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Why Companies Use Software To Scan Resumes

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

The Labor Department announced on Friday the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009. Most big companies use software to screen resumes and ultimately move that unemployment number. These programs can be a big help for hiring departments, but a hindrance for job searches everywhere.

Politics
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Defense Companies Hold Off On Pink Slips, For Now

Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices.
Gary C. Knapp AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Major defense companies said this week they will not send out layoff notices to warn of big job cuts in January, taking away the prospect of embarrassing layoff notices right before the November elections.

That's led to charges that the White House overstepped when it told the industry the notices are not needed.

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Economy
3:58 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Holiday Jobs Come With Uncertainty For Workers

Retailers expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra holiday workers this year, but the hours can be scarce — and unpredictable.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 5:55 pm

Retailers across the country expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers this holiday season to help with the anticipated spike in sales. Retail workers who have been hustling year-round for more hours are looking at that news with a jaded eye — because the vast majority of these seasonal jobs will disappear after December, sending many of these workers back scrounging for more work.

With a 17-hour workweek, Onieka O'Kieffe is left with a lot of time on her hands. Too much time. She said she very often sleeps 12 hours a day just because she can.

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The Two-Way
3:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Fallout From Financial Crisis: Thousands Of Nigerian Kids Poisoned By Lead

Women and their children wait for medication and instructions on how to use it at the clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. Treating children with high levels of lead is a painstaking process that works only if their environment at home is free from lead.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:27 pm

Gold in general has great PR. It's slick, it's hip, it's bling. But in a remote corner of West Africa, it's killing children.

Lead from illegal gold mines in northwestern Nigeria has sparked what Doctors Without Borders has called the worst case of environmental lead poisoning in years.

The catastrophe is part of the fallout from the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

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Planet Money
12:57 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Why Do The Jobs Numbers Change?

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:01 pm

The Labor Department revised the number of jobs added in July up by 40,000 jobs and the number of jobs added in August up by 46,000. These revisions have some people asking questions about the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures employment.

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Solve This
11:32 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Candidates Tout Different Routes To 'Energy Security'

President Obama and Mitt Romney are both calling on the U.S. to become less dependent on foreign oil, though their plans differ. Here, workers with Bramwell Petroleum set up a derrick for a new oil well near Spivey, Kan., in March.
Mike Hutmacher MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:07 pm

The pressing energy issue in the 2008 presidential campaign was how to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Four years later, the drive for "green energy" has been replaced by a new imperative: the need to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by 2020," Mitt Romney declared during a campaign speech in August. "That means we produce all the energy we use in North America."

He reiterated that goal in the opening minutes of the presidential candidates' debate in Denver this week.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Record High Prices At The Gas Pump Likely To Linger In California

Motorcyclists Hanna Gilan, right, and her son Chaim Gilan fill up their Vespa scooters with less than two gallons at a gas station in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 2012.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 9:07 pm

Gas prices spiked overnight Thursday by as much as 20 cents per gallon in parts of California, causing some stations to close and shocking many customers.

According to The Associated Press, the average price of regular gas across the state was nearly $4.49 a gallon. In other parts of the country, gas prices have fallen. South Carolina has the lowest average gas prices in the continental U.S. at $3.49 a gallon.

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The Salt
10:59 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Does Your Gas Tank Hold Enough Food To Feed 22 People?

Robert Byron iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 8:35 am

Here's a little math problem for you: How many calories go into the ethanol that's in your tank of gas?

Enough to feed 22 people, if you're talking the bare minimum calories needed in a single day, according to researchers at the New England Complex Sciences Institute.

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It's All Politics
10:58 am
Fri October 5, 2012

For Obama, 7.8 Could Be Lucky Number

President Obama smiles during a rally Friday at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:09 am

To become president and to be re-elected president takes much luck (among other factors, like money and political skill.) And President Obama appears to be one of the most fortunate presidents in recent memory with the release of the latest employment report.

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Business
10:27 am
Fri October 5, 2012

One Jobs Report, Two Different Political Spins

Democrats say the economy is growing and jobs consistently are being added. But Republicans note that the pace is far too slow to absorb the more than 12 million people still looking for work.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:22 pm

With a new report showing the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, the Obama administration got good news Friday: Jobs are indeed growing. But, as Republicans noted, the pace remains well below the level needed to provide paychecks for the 12.1 million people seeking them.

The truth is, each party could find evidence to support either a positive or negative spin on the labor market, which is recovering — yet weak.

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NPR Story
10:11 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Why Mobile Maps Sometimes Lose Their Way

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:03 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Starting route to Empire State Building: Head northwest on West 43rd Street.

FLATOW: That's the voice of Apple's maps app for iOS 6. She sounds confident enough, but how do you know she'll actually lead you to the correct destination? Because as users all over the world have figured out, Apple's maps and their driving directions have some serious problems. Apple has even apologized for it.

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Presidential Race
9:33 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Does Jobs Report Mean Things Are Getting Better?

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:30 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, the sweeping move to modernize the Catholic church known as Vatican II turns 50. We'll talk about that in Faith Matters in just a few minutes.

But, first, it's still all about the economy. The economy is still center stage this election season. This morning's jobs numbers are providing fresh material for the ongoing contest between the candidates and their philosophies and records.

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Economy
4:00 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Campaigns Wait To See If Jobs Data Will Help Or Hurt

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 10:45 am

For the first time since President Obama took office, the unemployment rate is back at 7.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. It's been above 8 percent for nearly four years. The number of new jobs added was in line with expectations — 114,000.

Business
3:28 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Bacon Shortage Is Hogwash

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 3:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We are going to rip the lid off the pork panic at NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: This called for serious investigation. A group of British pork producers sent fear into the hearts of bacon lovers worldwide by predicting an impending pork shortage. They say drought will make pork too expensive to produce, so farmers will sell off their herds.

But Boise State Public Radio's Scott Graf reports that here in the United States, experts say the notion of a bacon shortage is hogwash.

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NPR Story
3:28 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Mystery Solved: Why Was Some French Honey Green?

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 5:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Oh my gosh, today's last word in business is the most compelling report about our food supply since a few minutes ago, when we exploded the way that the bacon shortage was hyped. This story seems to be true.

Beekeepers in eastern France were upset, recently, to find that their bees were producing honey in unusual shades of blue and green.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Planet Money
1:43 am
Fri October 5, 2012

No One Trusts China's Unemployment Rate

Mark Ralston AFP/GettyImages

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:09 pm

Ask an economist like Eswar Prasad, who used to work at the International Monetary Fund, "So, do you know, what the unemployment rate in China is?"

And he'll answer, "We don't."

The official unemployment rate, put out by the government, Prasad says, is 6.5 percent, but according to him, "that number has no credibility at all."

He's not the only dubious one.

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Europe
1:18 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Not Everyone In Spain Eager To Wager On EuroVegas

Spaniards protest the construction of the EuroVegas gambling complex at Puerta del Sol in Madrid last month.
Gustavo Cuevas EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 2:03 pm

American billionaire, casino mogul and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson has a new project: a $35 billion gambling megacity in Europe. He has chosen debt-ridden Spain as the location for "EuroVegas," which is expected to bring up to 250,000 much-needed jobs.

But many Spaniards are divided over whether they want casinos in their backyard.

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