Business

Around the Nation
1:22 am
Fri April 20, 2012

As Workers Age, Oil Industry Braces For Skills Gap

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The rig's crew were new to their positions just before the explosion. Such staffing reorganizations are increasingly common as the industry grapples with a staffing shortage.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 7:11 am

Two years after the Deepwater Horizon accident killed 11 men and sent oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the oil industry says it has learned valuable lessons from the disaster that are making drilling safer today.

But there's still a pressing issue looming for the oil industry: Oil field workers are retiring in huge numbers, leaving a workforce that's younger and — more importantly — less experienced.

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Business
3:24 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

U.S. Wallet Closed As IMF Seeks To Build Crisis Fund

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde made the case for an international crisis fund at a briefing in Washington on Thursday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 4:34 pm

On the eve of the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the IMF's managing director, Christine Lagarde, says there's a spring wind blowing in a recovery for the world economy.

But, she cautioned, there are still dark clouds on the horizon — a reference to the continued threats posed by Europe's sovereign debt crisis. Lagarde says making sure the IMF has the resources to manage that threat is this meeting's top priority.

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NPR Story
2:28 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

TV Goes To The Dogs At Home Alone

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 4:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A new TV channel is going to the dogs.

BECKY LUBEACH: It is TV that is shot from a dog's perspective.

CORNISH: That's Becky Lubeach of DOGTV.

LUBEACH: It's been enhanced, that the colors that they see pop out. And the music has all been composed for them.

CORNISH: In other words, entertainment made not for you, but for your stay-at-home hound. No sitcoms about dogs. No "Jersey Shore," no ads either.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Salt
12:47 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Starbucks Ditches Bug-Based Red Dye In Strawberry Drink

By June, this drink will be bug-free, Starbucks says
Armstrong Photo Starbucks

For those of you boycotting Starbucks over the red dye made from crushed bugs it's been using, this Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino® is for you.

As we reported last month, vegetarians and others who'd rather not eat insects protested when they found out the the company uses cochineal, the red "juice" a tiny white bug called Dactylopius coccus exudes when crushed, to color certain food and drinks.

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Business
2:42 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:53 am

The $760 million factory is part of Ford's plan to double its production there by 2015. The new factory should up Ford's production in China to 1.2million cars — about half of what it produces in the U.S.

NPR Story
2:42 am
Thu April 19, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:59 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And now to the news that the country's biggest digital book seller is teaming up with one of the biggest names in spy fiction, which brings us to our last word in business.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "CASINO ROYALE")

DANIEL CRAIG: (as James Bond) The name is Bond, James Bond.

NEARY: Amazon has acquired the rights to publish all 14 of the classic James Bond novels.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
2:42 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Citigroup's Historic Shareholder Vote Is Non-Binding

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:10 am

At their annual meeting, Citigroup shareholders gave a no-confidence vote to a $15 million compensation package for the company's CEO. It's the first time this kind of vote has happened at a Wall Street firm. Lynn Neary talks to Columbia Law School professor Robert Jackson about the implications of the vote.

NPR Story
2:42 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Geithner: China's Yuan Changes Are Very Promising

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:08 am

U.S. companies and the U.S. government have long complained that China purposely undervalues its currency to maximize its exports. But on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offered some praise to China for making its currency more responsive to market forces.

Latin America
1:33 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Cruise Ship Didn't Aid Drifting Boat, Passengers Say

Bird-watcher Jeff Gilligan snapped this photograph of a small boat in distress. Gilligan and others say the cruise ship he was traveling on did not stop to help the stricken craft.
Jeff Gilligan

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 3:09 pm

It was international news recently when a small fishing boat was found adrift in the Pacific Ocean, several hundred miles from the Panama town where it launched. After 28 days at sea, only one of the three men who had been onboard was still alive. The other two died from lack of water and exposure.

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Planet Money
1:31 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Why Lobbyists Dodge Calls From Congressmen

"You spend most of your time dodging calls." - Jimmy Williams, former lobbyist
Courtesy of Jimmy Williams

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:36 am

This story is part of our series on money in politics.

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn't always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.

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It's All Politics
3:43 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Angela Caragan's A Cupcake Co. offers gourmet cupcakes for special events. Like more than 20 million other small-business owners in the U.S., she has no employees.
Courtesy of Angela Caragan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:28 pm

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:13 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

What We Can Learn From Warren Buffett's Prostate Cancer

Billionaire Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, will be treated for prostate cancer starting in July.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 2:25 pm

Benjamin Davies, a urologic cancer specialist, doesn't mince words.

On Twitter today, the good doctor said he would fire on the spot any medical resident who biopsied the prostate of an 81-year-old man.

And that would include Warren Buffett, the 81-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, who disclosed Tuesday that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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Business
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

At Citigroup's annual meeting Tuesday, 55 percent of shareholders voted against big paychecks for the firms top executives. Citigroup's latest pay package saw the CEO take home some $25 million, despite dwindling share values. The vote is not binding, but analysts call it historic.

NPR Story
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

In the world of advertising, the success of a billboard often depends on its location. And in the sporting world, what's a better local than the tall, imposing bodies of professional basketball players - which brings us to our last word in business: basketball billboard.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

At an NBA meeting last week, team owners floated the idea of slapping corporate logos on team uniforms.

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Europe
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Euopean Central Bank Removes Risk Of Global Crisis

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

The turmoil in Europe appears to have died down, at least for now. Interest rates have fallen except for Spain. European Central Bank officials say they have contained the crisis — even if a recession occurs. But not everyone is so sure, and the recent rise in interest rates in Spain is making some investors nervous.

Law
2:42 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Generic Drug Industry Wins Patent Court Case

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:50 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

The Supreme Court yesterday handed a victory to the generic drug industry. In a unanimous decision, the high court said generic drug makers can challenge how the big pharmaceutical companies describe their patents to the Food and Drug Administration.

It sounds like an obscure legal battle, but as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, it has potentially big implications for the industry.

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Business
1:01 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Rough Patches Behind It, Toyota Tries To Accelerate

A crane lifts a Toyota to the top level of New York's Javits Convention Center on April 2, before the New York International Auto Show.
Joe Polimeni PR Newswire

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:23 am

Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.

The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."

The Schuberts still had a working car.

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It's All Politics
12:57 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Small Businesses Get Big Political Hype. What's The Reality?

Tourists walk near shops in the Maine seaside village of Northeast Harbor.
Dina Rudick Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:46 am

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a small-business tax cut bill offered up by Republicans. It's just the latest piece of legislation to focus on small businesses, which are widely praised in the political discourse as engines of job creation. The adoration is nearly universal — and it reflects something beyond economic reality.

"Small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs in this economy, so our recovery depends on them," President Obama said in 2012 at a New Jersey sandwich shop where he met with small-business owners.

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Digital Life
3:44 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

In Noisy Digital Era, 'Elegant' Internet Still Thrives

Many computer users today use tools like Facebook MySpace to connect online. But some computer hobbyists still use pre-Web technologies to interact.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

Before Facebook and MySpace transformed how we interact virtually, there was another kind of Internet — a 1980s network, where users connected via phone lines and communicated through simple lines of text.

And while that may sound outdated, that version of the Internet is still very much alive.

'A Lot More Elegant'

Pat McNameeking, a college student in Concord, N.H., is one champion of this throwback social network known as SDF, or Super Dimensional Fortress.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Warren Buffett Has Prostate Cancer; Detected At Early Stage, He Says

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that the billionaire investor has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Seth Wenig AP

Warren Buffett, 81, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his Berkshire Hathaway company announced Tuesday afternoon. The cancer is at Stage 1, according to MarketWatch. The billionaire investor's condition is not life-threatening, he says.

Buffett send a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to inform and reassure them. Here's the text of that letter:

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Digital Life
12:29 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

What Makes Games Like 'Angry Birds' So Addictive?

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 12:31 pm

Angry Birds — a mobile phone game in which players use a slingshot to propel birds at tiny little green pigs — has been a runaway hit since its 2009 release, with more than 700 million downloads, a TV show and a feature film in the works. It isn't alone. NPR's Neal Conan talks with New York Times Magazine critic-at-large Sam Anderson about people's fascination with — and addiction to — what Anderson calls "stupid games."

The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Shifting Into Reverse, Detroit Automakers Lose Some Market Share

A worker assembles a Silverado truck on the assembly line at the GM Flint Assembly plant in Michigan.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Chrysler, Ford and General Motors gained market share in the past couple years. Helped by Toyota's much-publicized recalls, the problems that Japanese carmakers faced after last year's earthquake and tsunami, and an improving reputation for the quality of American-made vehicles, Detroit's Big Three grabbed 47 percent of sales last year — up from 45.1 percent in 2010 and 44 percent in 2009.

Our friend Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, though, reports that the Detroit companies' comeback — in terms of market share — may be over.

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Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:45 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. But half that statement appears to be under challenge by one late rap star and some special effects, which brings us to today's last word in business - virtual comeback.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CALIFORNIA LOVE")

TUPAC SHAKUR: (Singing) California love.

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Politics
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Senate Republicans Block Debate On Buffet Rule

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:48 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

President Obama's so-called Buffett rule has slammed into a wall of GOP opposition. On the eve of tax day, Senate Republicans voted yesterday to block a measure that would have made mega-investor Warren Buffett and billionaires and millionaires like him pay at least a 30 percent tax rate. Although Buffett endorses such a rule, Senate Republicans call it an election year gimmick. Their Democratic counterparts insist it's all about fairness. NPR's David Welna has our story.

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Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Business News

Apple share prices dropped more than 4 percent on the NASDAQ Monday — continuing a five-day decline for the maker of iPads and iPhones. In that span, the company's market value has dropped by almost $60 billion. Analysts say this may just be a price correction but warn that it could drag the markets down with it.

Business
2:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Tax Day Isn't Bad If You're Getting A Refund

The day that many dread is here: It's Tax Day. Of the 143 million federal tax returns filed last year, more than 80 percent qualified for a refund. Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about the economics of tax refunds.

Presidential Race
1:01 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Did Obama's Policies Help, Or Hinder, The Economy?

President Obama signs the economic stimulus bill in February 2009, as Vice President Biden looks on. Experts disagree over the impact of the administration's economic policies on the recession.
Darin McGregor AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:14 am

The 2012 presidential election is approaching, and President Obama's fate may hinge on how well the economy fares over the coming months.

On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been highlighting the economy's weaknesses. The former Massachusetts governor has made a similar claim about the president, and the recession, at almost every campaign stop.

"I don't blame the president for the downturn," Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire earlier this year. "He didn't cause it. But he made it worse and made it last longer."

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Business
1:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:43 am

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

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Business
12:32 am
Tue April 17, 2012

World Bank Names Obama's Pick As Its New President

Jim Yong Kim, 52, who immigrated from Korea at age five, is currently the president of Dartmouth College. He faced an international campaign challenging his nomination to lead the massive global development bank. Kim's selection continues a decades-long tradition of having a U.S. citizen lead the World Bank.

Family Matters: The Money Squeeze
10:02 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

One Roof, Three Generations, Many Decisions

Ida Christian, who suffers from dementia, gets help from her granddaughter, Yolanda Hunter (left), in blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Yolanda quit her lucrative job to become Ida's full-time caregiver.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:52 am

Part of the Family Matters series

The Great Recession slammed into all age groups, flattening the career dreams of young people and squeezing the retirement accounts of middle-aged savers. It financially crippled many elderly people who had thought they could stand on their own.

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