Business

Business
2:48 am
Thu May 10, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 5:32 am

Hairstyling icon Vidal Sassoon has died at the age of 84. He first earned acclaim for creating hair cuts that needed little styling.

Asia
12:55 am
Thu May 10, 2012

After The Quake, Japanese Shop For Survival

Store manager Naoto Higashi models a helmet, a fully stocked kit in his backpack, and a windup flashlight. Such items have become popular in Japan following last year's huge earthquake and tsunami.
Lucy Craft for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 2:48 am

Walk into any large Japanese retailer nowadays, and you might think Japan had become a nation of survivalists.

Aeon, a Wal-Mart-like chain of stores, devotes a sizable chunk of floor space to something called bosai-yohin, or "disaster-protection gear."

Naoto Higashi, a manager at one of the Tokyo stores, demonstrates some of their best-sellers, flashlights that have become the Swiss Army knives of anti-earthquake gear.

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Economy
12:54 am
Thu May 10, 2012

College Grads Struggle To Gain Financial Footing

Graduates of the University of Alabama's class of 2011. The economic downturn has hit recent college grads hard. New data show only half of those who graduated from 2006 to 2011 are working full time.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 2:48 am

Most of the estimated 1.5 million people graduating from a four-year college this spring will soon be looking for a job.

If the experiences of other recent college grads are any guide, many will be disappointed.

A new Rutgers University survey of those who graduated from college between 2006 and 2011 finds that just half of those grads are working full time.

Settling For Part Time

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Politics
11:55 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

House To Vote On GOP Bill Framed As Guns Vs. Butter

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 6:49 am

Republicans who control the House want to block some $55 billion worth of automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget next year. Instead, they want to cut funding for social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. It's a choice that has been framed as guns versus butter, and this time, guns are expected to win.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto the legislation, which the House votes on Thursday. But the president is willing to leave the Pentagon cuts in place for now, in hopes of bringing Republicans back to the bargaining table.

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Energy
3:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Booming Oil Industry Struggles To Fill Jobs

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The unemployment rate here in the U.S. is high, above eight percent. But at least one industry insists it can't find and hire experienced workers fast enough. Thousands of older employees are beginning to retire from the oil and gas industry.

And as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, the shortage comes at the very moment high oil prices have companies hoping to drill more.

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Movies
3:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

'Avengers' May Mitigate Disney's 'John Carter' Flop

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Have you ever wondered what $200 million sounds like? Well, wonder no more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE AVENGERS")

SCARLETT JOHANSSON: (as Black Widow) This is nothing we were ever trained for.

CORNISH: That's a scene from the movie "The Avengers," released by Walt Disney Studios. It made just over $200 million in its opening weekend here in the U.S. Then again, $200 million also sounds like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "JOHN CARTER")

LYNN COLLINS: (as Dejah Thoris) You are John Carter of Earth?

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Economy
3:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Foreclosure Review Is Free, But Few Borrowers Apply

A foreclosed home in Los Angeles. More than 4 million homeowners nationwide are eligible for an independent review of their foreclosure process, but only a small percentage have applied to the program.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

It's been more than six months since government regulators and banks first extended an offer to 4.3 million homeowners facing foreclosure: to review, at no cost, the foreclosure process to check for any possible errors or misrepresentations.

Homeowners stand to collect compensation of as much as $100,000 if errors are found. But thus far, only a tiny percentage of those eligible have signed up.

'Not Enough Folks Have Signed Up'

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The Salt
2:24 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Hospital Food So Fresh, Even The Healthy Come To Dine

Executive chef Tony DeWalt picks some lettuce from the Fauquier Hospital's culinary healing garden.
John Rose

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:48 am

Twice a week, local seniors in Warrenton, Virginia, flock to a hip new dinner spot called the Bistro on the Hill for good food, a great view, and musical accompaniment by a retired piano player from a nearby Nordstrom's.

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News
1:57 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Government Job Cuts Threaten Black Middle Class

An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va. The USPS, which is projecting a $14.1 billion loss this fiscal year, is discussing restructuring options with potential advisers.
Andrew Harrier Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 2:58 pm

The planned downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service, which wants to shed thousands of jobs and reduce hours at post offices, struck Baltimore native Eric Easter at his core.

For him, it will mark the end of an era in which a post office job has meant stability and a path to a better life, as it did for him and his six siblings living in public housing in the 1960s.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Fannie Mae Posts Profit, Doesn't Need Federal Funds For First Time Since Crisis

Fannie Mae.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 3:58 pm

The mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced today that it made $2.7 billion during the first quarter of 2012. For the first time since the beginning of the financial crisis, Fannie Mae will not ask the federal government for bailout funds.

CNN reports the company will pay a dividend to the Treasury Department. CNN adds:

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Health
2:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Should You Buy A Long-Term-Care Insurance Policy?

Kimberly Lankford is a writer for Kipplinger's Retirement Report.
Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 10:14 am

Kimberly Lankford, personal finance writer for Kiplinger.com and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, talks to David Greene about the shifting market for long-term-care insurance, and if it is still worth buying.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
2:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Canadian Firm Will Pay Dividends In Gold

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: striking gold.

The Gold Bullion Development Corporation, a Montreal-based exploration company, will now allow its shareholders to have their dividends paid in gold.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Company President Frank Basa has been paid in gold actually for more than 20 years.

FRANK BASA: Gold automatically adjusts to marking conditions regardless where you are and what you're doing.

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Business
2:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Iowa Community Preserves Short Line Rail Track

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 3:17 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's stay in Iowa. It was only a few decades ago that railroad tracks laced the state's countryside, linking even the smallest Iowa communities to the rest of the country. Many of these short line railroads have been disappearing. They're being turned into farm land or in some cases, bicycle trails. But in one Iowa community, farmers and businessmen are using their own money to preserve their railroad connection. They see it as an economic lifeline.

Iowa Public Radio's Dean Borg reports.

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Sports
2:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Olympic Runners Find Unique Was To Raise Funds

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:38 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Anyone who watches NASCAR knows the cars out on the track are plastered with ads. Golfers almost all wear their sponsorships, but not U.S. Olympians.

NPR's Mike Pesca reports that some runners are now chafing at the long-standing rules blocking them from raising sponsorship money.

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Business
2:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:16 am

Japanese automaker Toyota on Wednesday announced its January to March profits quadrupled over last year to $1.5 billion. The company struggled with production after last year's earthquake and tsunami caused huge delays at its factories. With production back to normal, Toyota expects this to be its most profitable year since before the global financial crisis.

Business
2:22 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Pink Slime Maker To Close Plants, 650 To Lose Jobs

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 3:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news. Two words - pink slime - have been powerful enough to cost the jobs of 650 meat-processing workers.

Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports on the backlash against a ground-beef filler.

PAT BLANK, BYLINE: Officials with Beef Products Incorporated, or BPI, will permanently close three production plants in Waterloo, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and Garden City, Kansas; by the end of the month.

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National Security
1:35 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Cyber Briefings 'Scare The Bejeezus' Out Of CEOs

Cybersecurity analysts work in the watch and warning center during the first tour of the government's secretive cyberdefense lab intended to protect the nation's power, water and chemical plants, electrical grid and other facilities on Sept. 29, 2011, in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:02 pm

For the CEOs of companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, talk of cyberweapons and cyberwar could have been abstract. But at a classified security briefing in spring 2010, it suddenly became quite real.

"We can turn your computer into a brick," U.S. officials told the startled executives, according to a participant in the meeting.

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Business
2:36 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

American Tries To Take Back Unlimited Airfare

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

What do Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays and computer magnet Michael Dell have in common? Both men, many years ago, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to American Airlines for what is essentially a golden ticket - fly anywhere on American anytime, first class, the flight attendants know your name and your favorite drink for life.

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Energy
9:52 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Falling Oil Prices: A Blip Or A Hint Of The Future?

Oil and gas production in the U.S. is rising, and the U.S. is expected to be less dependent on foreign energy in the coming years. This oil drilling rig, shown in October 2011, is outside Watford City, N.D., a state that has seen a boom in energy production.
Matthew Staver Landov

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 1:42 pm

World oil prices have been falling recently — and that's good news for oil consumers such as the U.S., Europe and China, and a potential challenge for the big exporters like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The oil market is notoriously volatile, and the factors driving prices down are temporary. But some energy industry analysts are posing a much larger question: Is the world, and the U.S. in particular, entering a new phase of expanding energy supplies and more moderate prices?

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Shots - Health Blog
7:47 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Why Your Drug Copay Could Change

How much a medicine costs you could vary depending on the value your insurer assigns to treatment.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 10:00 am

What if how much you paid for a drug was based on how much it might help you, instead of the sticker price?

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Media
4:57 am
Tue May 8, 2012

English-Language News Launched By Univision, ABC

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

The joint venture will create a multi-platform news service for English-speaking Hispanics. The venture will feature a 24/7 cable channel, as well as digital media platforms.

Business
3:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Mortgage Update

Bank of America is offering to reduce an average $150,000 in principal for borrowers who qualify, a bank official says.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 8:03 am

Bank of America is offering about 200,000 homeowners a chance to wipe out a big chunk of their mortgage debt. The offers are part of the settlement Bank of America and other major banks reached with state and federal regulators earlier this year, and it's one of the biggest principal forgiveness opportunities so far.

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Business
3:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

Beatles tunes are very hard to license — the surviving band members and heirs have been choosy about who can play their songs. AMC's Mad Men made the cut. For a reported $250,000, the show was allowed to pay "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Economy
3:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

What Hollande's Anti-Austerity Rhetoric Means

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

Socialist Francois Hollande won the French presidency over the weekend, in large part due to his pledge to push for growth and battle the German-led austerity approach to Europe's fiscal problems. But what does that pledge mean in practical terms?

Economy
3:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Germany Stays The Course On Austerity Measures

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

The elections in France and Greece signaled a resounding popular rejection of the tough austerity measures being pushed by Germany, Europe's largest economy. But Berlin doesn't appear to be changing course.

Business
3:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a shareholder revolt.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Europe
1:33 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Bond Market Shrugs Off France's Presidential Vote

A supporter of French President-elect Francois Hollande wears a mask of outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 5:41 am

The arguments for growth policies as opposed to austerity are taking center stage in Europe after the French and Greek elections.

His rhetoric aside, France's President-elect Francois Hollande is not rejecting austerity. In fact, he pledged to balance France's budget by the end of his five-year term, just one year later than his opponent, outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
1:14 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Long-Term-Care Insurance: Who Needs It?

AnnaBelle Bowers' long-time physician, Walter Watkin, gives her a kiss on the forehead at the end of her visit. When asked how long she had been coming to see him, he said, "Long enough for her file to be 2 inches thick."
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:50 am

Americans routinely buy all sorts of insurance — for cars, homes, health and even pets and boats.

But when it comes to long-term-care insurance, relatively few sign up. Out of more than 313 million Americans, only about 8 million have any such protection, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. The low participation rate largely reflects the high cost of long-term-care insurance.

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Business
12:29 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Shhhh! (Facebook's About To Go Public)

The world's biggest social network is expected to go public on May 18. And like all companies facing an initial public offering, Facebook is staying quiet about its financials and stock potential.
Timur Emek AP

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 8:07 am

Facebook started what's called a "road show" this week, pitching itself to potential big investors across the country. It's one of the last steps before a company goes public — which Facebook reportedly plans to do next Friday.

But that pitch has to be very carefully calibrated — as you can tell from all the warning language that precedes it on Facebook's road show website.

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National Security
12:27 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Bill Would Have Businesses Foot Cost Of Cyber War

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 8:20 am

Business executives and national security leaders are of one mind over the need to improve the security of the computers that control the U.S. power grid, the financial system, water treatment facilities and other elements of critical U.S. infrastructure. But they divide over the question of who bears responsibility for that effort.

The disagreement stands as an obstacle to passage of major cybersecurity legislation backed by Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine, among others.

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