Business

All Tech Considered
4:39 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

What's In Your Wallet? Wait, You Don't Need One

A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.
Jeff Wheeler MCT/Landov

Most Americans pay with plastic or cash when they visit the grocery store, buy their daily coffee, or fill up the gas tank. But a growing number of large companies are trying to change that.

Google, Starbucks and Wal-Mart are among the many firms that are eager to replace consumers' wallets and stores' cash registers, with smartphones and other mobile devices.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Coffee Is The New Wine. Here's How You Taste It

Samantha Kerr prepares coffee at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore, MD.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:03 am

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

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The Two-Way
2:42 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

EBay Says Users Will No Longer Be Able To Sell Magic, Potions, Curses

A "powerful" love potion for sale on eBay. The "buy it now" price is $21.
eBay

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 3:04 pm

It's a tough day for the Harry Potters among us: Ebay said today that beginning in September it will no longer allow the sale of some, um, metaphysical products.

Among them: advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions and healing sessions.

The Los Angeles reports:

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Facebook Shares Battered As Insiders Are Allowed To Sell

An illustration of an Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen in front of the login page.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

At one point today, Facebook's stock price sunk to a new low. At about $19.69, it was worth about half of what it was initially sold for in May.

Bloomberg explains that what is happening is that early investors in the company — including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg — were allowed to sell some of their stocks for the first time today.

Bloomberg adds:

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Jobless Claims Held Steady At 366,000 Last Week

There were 366,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

So what we said last week applies again:

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Business
2:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Kentucky, W.Va., To Ship Coal To India For 25 Years

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The U.S. coal industry is getting a boost. Nine million tons of American coal will be sent overseas to India this year, and for the next 25 years - it's the result of a new $7 billion deal signed yesterday between an Indian coal group and several producers in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Erica Peterson of member station WFPL has more.

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Television
2:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Low Ratings Force CNN To Find A New Direction

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The news network CNN has recently seen its ratings during primetime hit record lows. The company is still making money, thanks to its international presence, but here in the United States, viewers are increasingly turning to more opinionated competitors: MSNBC and Fox News. At the end of the year, the president of CNN Worldwide is going to step down. And TV critic Eric Deggans sees this as a big opportunity for CNN to shake things up.

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Business
2:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a subpoena.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Business
2:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Olympians Try To Turn Medals Into Endorsements

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And while the Olympic Games are over and the athletes have all headed home, the competition for athletes to turn their gold into gold by securing valuable endorsements is in full swing.

To talk to us about some of the big sponsorship deals that might be in the works, we're joined by Emily Steel, who covers media and marketing in New York for the Financial Times.

Good morning.

EMILY STEEL: Good morning.

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Business
2:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. So we just heard in Renee's conversation there that American Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas has hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, giving her clout with potential sponsors.

Our last word in business today is Klout spelled with a K. Klout, k-l-o-u-t, is a Web startup that's been around for a few years. The company says it can measure your online influence by using a special algorithm.

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American Dreams: Then And Now
1:28 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Persuading Banks To Give Homeowners A Break

Sara Millan (left) thanks Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America CEO Bruce Marks after NACA was able to reduce her family's mortgage during an event in Los Angeles in September 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.

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Economy
1:24 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Amid Budget Squeeze N.Y. Sells Nursing Homes

Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown, N.Y., was sold in June, part of a wave of privatizations in rural counties across New York state.
Brian Mann for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 2:53 pm

The national recession may be over, but local governments around the country are still hurting. Core services and programs are being scaled back, cut or privatized. In Upstate New York, county officials are scrambling to sell off nursing homes that have been taxpayer-funded for generations.

Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown, N.Y., a modest brick building that sits a stone's throw from the village square, has 100 beds, and that's how many elderly people live here. There is always a waiting list.

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Planet Money
12:51 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Everybody Always Thinks Inflation Is Higher Than It Really Is

Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 8:30 am

The world is going to hell, and prices are going through the roof. This, more or less, seems to be the perpetual conventional wisdom.

The first half of the statement is debatable. But the second half is clearly wrong at the moment: Prices are not going through the roof.

Prices for U.S. consumers rose by just 1.4 percent over the past year, according to the consumer price index numbers released this morning. In other words, inflation is very low.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:42 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Johnson & Johnson Pledges To Purge Controversial Chemicals

J&J

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 12:50 pm

Under pressure from consumer groups, Johnson & Johnson has decided to curb or eliminate a slew of ingredients from its beauty and baby care products.

The company says all the chemicals — including some preservatives and trace byproducts — are safe in the concentrations found in the products. Nevertheless, the company acknowledges that some people remain concerned about the risks.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Inflation Stayed In Check Last Month: No Change In July

There was no change in the consumer price index last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

It's the second month in a row that the index was flat — a sign that inflation remained in check for the first half or so of summer. Whether that trend will continue, however, is uncertain.

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Business
3:35 am
Wed August 15, 2012

British Bank Settles Money Laundering Charges

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A British bank has agreed to settle charges that it illegally laundered Iranian money. The settlement with Standard Chartered was announced by New York banking regulators, who'd brought the charges just a week ago. The bank still is under investigation by the federal government. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.

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Around the Nation
3:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Rep. Ryan's Hometown Seen Through Filmmaker's Lense

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 4:51 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:32 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the top man at The Times.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The New York Times has named its new president and CEO. The man who got the job is Mark Thompson, a former BBC executive. Thompson will face a different business model from the non-profit British broadcaster. The paper is run by a board that's largely elected by a family trust.

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NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Home Depot Reports Earnings Are Up 12 Percent

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 4:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Home Depot says, from its vantage point, there seems to be a turnaround in the housing market. The nation's largest home-improvement chain reported a 12 percent increase in second-quarter earnings.

Joshua Stewart from Georgia Public Broadcasting has the details.

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NPR Story
3:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Twitterverse is blowing up these days with a lot of talk of football, because its fans like me are very happy about the NFL season is getting close.

Here in Washington, D.C., fans are tweeting about Jordan Black. The Washington Redskins signed the offensive tackle during training camp and he has some work to do.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Which is why our last word in business is: chowing down.

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All Tech Considered
1:40 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Twitter Lets Customers Skip Recordings, And Make Choices

For customer Laura Hargrove, the choice between moving-truck companies Budget and Penske came down to how they use Twitter.
NPR

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 6:48 am

Once used mostly for one-time promos and marketing, Twitter is now something businesses are relying on to provide customer service. For instance, Southwest Airlines tweets to alert folks about delays. And Best Buy responds to questions and complaints via Twitter. And they're not alone.

Let's say you're thinking of ordering a pair of shoes online and you want to know the store's exchange policy. You could pick up the phone — but then you'll hear the old recording: "To ensure quality service, your call may be monitored or recorded."

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It's All Politics
2:49 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Ryan's Mission For Fed: Focus On Prices, Not Unemployment

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shakes hands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the close of the committee's hearing on the state of the economy in February 2011.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 11:07 am

Mitt Romney's new running mate has authored some provocative policy proposals to cut budget deficits and overhaul Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But Rep. Paul Ryan has also been an advocate for a different course for the central banking system of the United States, the Federal Reserve.

For the past 35 years, the Fed has had a dual mandate from Congress: to set interest rates at levels that will both foster maximum employment and keep prices stable. Put another way, the Fed's goals are to get unemployment as low as possible while keeping inflation in check.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

British Bank Agrees To $340 Million Settlement Over Laundering Charges

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:27 pm

Britain's fifth-largest bank has agreed to pay $340 million to settle charges by New York regulators that it laundered money for Iranian clients.

NPR's Chris Arnold filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"In court documents, the regulator alleged that for 10 years Standard Chartered Bank quote 'schemed with the Government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions... involving $250 billion dollars and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for the bank.'

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Europe
2:30 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

British Bank Settles After Hiding Iranian Transactions

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 4:04 pm

The British bank accused of using its New York branch to launder money from international transaction has agreed to pay New York's top banking regulator $340 million. Regulators said the bank schemed to hide more than 60,000 financial transactions totaling $250 billion for Iranian clients. The bank denied the charges. Audie Cornish talks with Jim Zarroli.

The Salt
1:40 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Secret Side Of The Drought: Many Corn Farmers Will Benefit

President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (second from right) inspect drought-damaged corn on the McIntosh farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:28 am

You've all heard a lot about this year's devastating drought in the Midwest, right? The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last Friday that the average U.S. cornfield this year will yield less per acre than it has since 1995. Soybean yields are down, too.

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Planet Money
1:38 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

What A Very Old Menu Tells Us About The Price Of Steak

Matt Sayles Associated Press

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 9:08 pm

Delmonico's, the New York City steakhouse, has been around forever.

The New York Public Library's archival menu collection doesn't go back quite that far. But it does have a Delmonico's menu from 1918. The archive also, sort of randomly, has a Delmonico's menu from 1988. Delmonico's current menu is online.

One item that's on all three menus: filet mignon.

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Economy
12:40 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Back-To-School Shoppers Open Wallets, But Carefully

Shoppers walk along Chicago's Michigan Avenue last month.
Sitthixay Ditthavong AP

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:29 pm

After months of sitting on their wallets, Americans went shopping in July. The uptick reported Tuesday is boosting economists' hopes for a reasonably strong back-to-school season. And retailers are looking for clues about how the holiday shopping season will turn out later in the year.

"This is a good report," Chris Christopher, an economist with IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, wrote in an assessment of the latest report. "It indicates that consumers came back after hunkering down" during the year's first half when sales were "dismal."

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The Salt
9:14 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Reach For The Fries? Apple Slices Recalled For Possible Listeria Contamination

This apple-topped salad is one of several products being recalled for potential contamination with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes
Ready Pac, Inc.

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:29 am

If you've been applauding yourself recently for choosing the apple slices over the french fries for your kid's fast food meal, or an apple-laden prepackaged salad for your own dinner, you might want to hit the pause button.

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Economy
9:10 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Retail Sales Jump, But Are They High Enough?

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:30 pm

July saw the largest retail sales increase in months, according to the Commerce Department. But not all the news is rosy. NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax joins guest host Jacki Lyden to take a look at consumer spending and the "back to school" season.

The Two-Way
6:50 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Retail Sales Rose 0.8 Percent In July; More Than Expected

There was a 0.8 percent increase in retail sales in July from June, the Census Bureau says, thanks in part to gains in purchases of cars, furniture and appliances.

Overall, The Associated Press says, "all major categories showed increases, a sign that consumers may be gaining confidence." If that is indeed the case, it's good news for the economy. Consumers purchase about 70 percent of all goods and services.

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