Business

Business
2:00 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Wireless Industry Tries To Thwart Smartphone Thefts

The wireless phone industry has a plan to take the profit out of the market for stolen smartphones. At the urging of police chiefs across the country and federal regulators, the industry is developing a database of stolen devices.

Business
2:00 am
Wed April 11, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Officials in San Gabriel Valley set up a quarantine zone after a lemon tree was found infected with citrus disease. That disease almost wiped out Florida's citrus crop a few years back.

Energy
2:00 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Natural Gas Glut Leads To Lower Prices

The U.S. is facing a growing surplus in natural gas. Renee Montagne talks to Amy Myers Jaffe, of the Energy Forum at the Baker Institute at Rice University, about the glut. She expects some consolidation in the industry.

Crisis In The Housing Market
12:53 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Fannie, Freddie Weigh Mortgage Write-Downs

A pre-foreclosure sign is seen in front of a home in Miami. Supporters of a plan to reduce the principals owed by many homeowners facing foreclosure say it would prevent larger losses and keep people in their homes.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure might get help by having the amount they owe reduced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This is a hot topic in Washington, D.C., with many Democrats pushing for these so-called "principal reductions" to try to help the housing market. On Tuesday, a top federal regulator came a step closer to allowing the move.

Read more
Business
1:00 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Cars Increasingly Outsell Trucks In US

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now the return of the car. March was a good month for the auto industry. Almost all the major companies - foreign and domestic - saw their sales go up. And it was an especially good month for the car - the regular old sedan or coupe. In the U.S., cars outsold trucks by 54 to 46 percent. That's a trend that keeps going up, and it's very different from the middle of the last decade, when trucks outsold cars. To find out what's behind this trend, we turn to NPR's Sonari Glinton. Hi, Sonari.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

U.S. Coal Exports Soar To 1991 Heights

As U.S. coal consumption has fallen, its exports of coal have risen. Pictured, Midwest Generation's Crawford Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Chicago. The city's two coal-fired plants are closing under a deal with city officials and environmental groups.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 12:05 pm

America's reliance on coal to produce electricity has declined by more than 20 percent in recent years — but in 2011, the U.S. exported coal at a rate not seen in 20 years, according to the AP. And much of the new surge in coal exports comes from Asia and Europe.

Here's a rough guide to who's buying America's coal, based on the AP story:

  • South Korea: Up 81 percent to more than 10 million tons.
  • India: Up 65 percent, to 4.5 million tons.
Read more
The Two-Way
10:37 am
Tue April 10, 2012

State Approves Bill To Ban Employers From Seeking Facebook Login Info

A woman uses her smartphone to access Facebook. Several states are close to banning employers from asking job applicants for their social media login information.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

The practice of employers asking job applicants for their account login information for Facebook and other social media sites is meeting its backlash, as Maryland is poised to be among the first states to ban the practice. The state's General Assembly has passed the bill, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Martin O'Malley, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Read more
Business
2:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Microsoft To Buy Patents From AOL For $1.1 Billion

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Moving on to another billion dollar tech deal, Microsoft has agreed to pay AOL over $1 billion for hundreds of patents. Microsoft outbid several rivals, including Amazon and eBay, in a deal which saw AOL's stock price jump by over 40 percent. The over 800 patents include internet search, email and customized advertising and are seen as a push by Microsoft into the lucrative smartphone and tablet market.

Business
2:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Machine Evens Sushi-Making Playing Field

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 5:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today: sushi bot.

It's where raw fish and robots meet up. More specifically, it's a cutting-edge, sushi-making machine. A company called Suzumo introduced a prototype at a food expo in Tokyo last week.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: It is true that a skilled chef has trained for a long time. However, with Suzumo sushi-making machines, everyone can make stable-quality sushi very easily.

Read more
Technology
2:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

'Do Not Track' Web Browser Option Gains Steam

Several Web browsers, including Mozilla's Firefox, enable users to request additional privacy online via a "do not track" button. But there's no consensus on how much privacy the button should offer users.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 9:10 am

Government regulators in the U.S. and Europe are putting pressure on the online advertising industry to adopt a new Web browser option called "do not track." The option is designed to let people request more privacy from the websites they visit.

But there's no consensus yet on how much privacy users should expect. An Internet industry task force convenes Tuesday in Washington to try to hash that out.

Some browsers, like Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox, already come with a "do not track" button. Other browsers are expected to add the feature soon.

Read more
Business
2:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

For $1.1 Billion, Facebook Snaps Up Instagram

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Facebook likes Instagram. That's the top of our business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: And they did more than just click the little thumbs up. Facebook is buying the photo application Instagram and the price is higher than it has ever paid for an acquisition - $1 billion; this for a company with only around a dozen employees. As somebody joked yesterday, why didn't they just download it?

As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, some analysts say the purchase is a defensive move.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
1:43 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Calif.'s Prescription-Drug Monitoring System Feels Pain From Budget Cuts

At Universal Pain Management, Dr. Francis Riegler confers with Trudy Roberts, the clinic's nurse practitioner, over a patient's record of prescription drug purchases.
Sarah Varney KQED

This is a story about what can happen when no one is looking. For the patients at Universal Pain Management, a medical clinic in northern Los Angeles County, Dr. Francis Riegler is always looking.

Riegler huddles with the clinic's nurse practitioner over a computer printout. The one-page report from the state's drug-tracking system shows that a patient was on the hunt for more Vicodin, a powerful pain reliever that he was already getting from Riegler's clinic.

Read more
Business
1:42 am
Tue April 10, 2012

For Freelancers, Landing A Workspace Gets Harder

Workers share office space at Grind, a co-working company in New York City. Those who want to use Grind's facilities are vetted through a competitive application process.
JaegerSloan

The recession brought widespread unemployment across the U.S., but it also prompted a spike in the number of freelance or independent workers.

More than 30 percent of the nation's workers now work on their own, and the research firm IDC projects the number of nontraditional office workers — telecommuters, freelancers and contractors — will reach 1.3 billion worldwide by 2015.

Read more
Europe
1:39 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Unemployed Greeks Look To Create Their Own Jobs

Panos Papadopoulos, 28, is the co-founder of BugSense, which makes a service to track bugs in mobile phone applications. He also mentors other young entrepreneurs at CoLab, a business incubator in Greece.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

In Greece, more than 21 percent of the working-age population is jobless. For Greeks under age 25, the rate is more than double that.

Some young Greeks are frightened that the economy, now in free fall, will take years to recover, so they're leaving for jobs abroad. A few entrepreneurs, however, are trying to start businesses during the worst recession in decades.

A magnet for these young entrepreneurs is CoLab, a business incubator in a weathered building near the Athens Cathedral in the city center. CoLab opened in 2009, with just one occupant — a Spanish travel writer.

Read more
Law
1:38 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Federal Court To Weigh Graphic Cigarette Labels

This image provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows one of nine new warning labels it wants cigarette makers to use. Tobacco companies have sued, claiming the mandate is unconstitutional.
AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 6:09 am

The question of how far the government can go in forcing a business — in this case cigarette makers — to warn consumers about its product is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration wants large, graphic warning labels to scare smokers, but tobacco companies say that violates their right to free speech.

Read more
Planet Money
1:16 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Why Matzo Makers Love Regulation

Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz at the Manischewitz factory in 2007
Mike Derer AP

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 9:06 am

For more, see our video, Inside The Matzo Factory, and see Adam Davdson's latest NYT Magazine column

The matzo business may be the most heavily regulated business in the world.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:23 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Like The Instagram-Facebook Deal? Depends On Your Filter

A photo illustration shows the photo-sharing app Instagram's fan page on Facebook's website. Facebook is acquiring Instagram for some $1 billion.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 4:00 pm

Facebook's decision to acquire Instagram for $1 billion set off strong reactions among Instagram users Monday, when the deal was announced. And if any users of Instagram's photo-sharing service were in love with the deal, they seemed to be keeping pretty quiet about it.

Read more
Technology
3:03 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

The Key To Keeping Lice At Bay? A Lot Of Hot Air

The LouseBuster uses heated air to dry lice out and kill them, along with their eggs.
Courtesy of LouseBuster

When your kids are infested with head lice, a certain amount of panic — even desperation — can spread through the house. But one biologist has made it his mission to find a better way to rid his home of a common household pest.

Read more
Business
1:00 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

AOL Sale The Latest Shot In Tech Patent War

AOL is selling a trove of patents to Microsoft for about $1.1 billion. The announcement sent AOL's share price soaring. A shareholder group had been complaining that the struggling company hadn't acted to realize the value of its patents. Many tech companies have been moving aggressively to assemble large patent portfolios as they battle over intellectual property.

Technology
1:00 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

'Hacking For Sale' A Lucrative Business

Security firms like Vupen are selling hacking techniques to the highest bidder — typically government agencies — for six-figure price tags. Audie Cornish talks to Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg about the market for security vulnerabilities and who's buying them.

Energy
1:00 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

What Makes Gas Prices Continue To Rise?

Why does a gallon of gas at the pump cost an average of $3.93? Why might it soon hit $4? Robert Siegel asks Robin West, the chairman of PFC Energy, an energy consulting firm.

The Two-Way
11:30 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Facebook Is Buying Instagram

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 1:30 pm

"I'm excited to share the news that we've agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook," Mark Zuckerberg just announced.

Read more
Planet Money
10:57 am
Mon April 9, 2012

No, You Can't Deduct That

For our NYT Magazine column this weekend, we talked to 20 accountants, tax lawyers and policy wonks. Among other things, we asked them to list some ridiculous deductions their clients have tried to take.

Here are a few of our favorite answers, broken into two groups: relatively common, somewhat ridiculous; and less common, more ridiculous. Nothing on the list is tax deductible.

Relatively Common, Somewhat Ridiculous

Read more
Remembrances
9:36 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Mike Wallace Of '60 Minutes'

Mike Wallace was one of the original correspondents on the CBS News show 60 Minutes. He retired in 2006 but continued to file pieces until 2008.
Mario Suriani AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 am

Mike Wallace, the CBS News correspondent who became famous for his two-fisted interview style and his hard-hitting conversations with politicians, celebrities and newsmakers, died Saturday. He was 93.

Wallace had been with the weekly CBS News magazine 60 Minutes since its inception in 1968. Working with producer Don Hewitt, Wallace became known for interviews in which he refused to be led away from topics his interview subjects found uncomfortable.

Read more
Business
8:12 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Sony Reportedly Cutting 10,000 Jobs

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 8:15 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with big layoffs at Sony.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The one-time leader in entertainment technology is trying to regain its edge, and that means painful changes. According to Japanese news reports and The Wall Street Journal, Sony plans to eliminate 10,000 jobs worldwide. That's about 6 percent of its overall workforce.

Opinion
6:47 am
Mon April 9, 2012

The Nation: Treading Dangerous Water With Jobs

People stand in a line that stretched around the block to enter a job fair held at the Jewish Community Center (JCC), on March 21, 2012 in New York City. More than 600 people registered to attend the job fair and meet potential employers.
John Moore Getty Images

George Zornick is a writer for The Nation.

The jobs data released this morning is a clear disappointment: only 120,000 jobs were added, which is less than what analysts predicted and barely enough to keep up with population growth. The unemployment rate went down slightly, to 8.2 percent, but only because the labor force shrank as people stopped looking for work.

Read more
Opinion
6:45 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Weekly Standard: A Disappointing Jobs Report

Job seekers wait in line to enter the San Francisco Hirevent job fair at the Hotel Whitcomb on March 27, 2012 in San Francisco, California. As the national unemployment rate stands at 8.2 percent, job seekers turned out to meet with recruiters at the San Francisco Hirevent job fair where hundreds of jobs were available.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Irwin M. Stelzer is a writer for The Weekly Standard.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:00 am
Mon April 9, 2012

New Jersey Law Causes Companies To Pull Gift Cards

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

At some point, you likely received a present from a prepaid gift card from the person who wasn't exactly sure what you'd want. Residents of New Jersey may not be able to buy them for much longer. American Express has pulled its gift cards from the state, and other big industry players are threatening to do the same. They oppose a new law that would allow New Jersey to claim unused gift card balances after two years. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

Read more
Business
2:00 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Business News

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with labor woes at AT&T.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: AT&T and union officials have agreed to extend contract negotiations, preventing a mass walkout by some 40,000 unionized workers. The deadline to agree on the new contract had been yesterday. AT&T is seeking concessions from its workers, including cuts in pension contributions, and also an increase in health care premiums. The union is calling those concessions unrealistic.

Your Money
1:36 am
Mon April 9, 2012

What Do You Owe In Taxes? Depends Who's Counting

Which tax preparation service is best? That's what writer Joel Stein hoped to find out when he took his 2011 income data to different firms — including an H&R Block office, seen here in a file photo from last year's tax season.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 10:58 am

In 2012, the federal tax return deadline is Tuesday, April 17 — so if you haven't already filed your income tax return, you have about one week left to shop around for different options to finish your taxes, or request an extension.

Read more

Pages