Business

Business
2:16 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Under Competitive Pressure, Wal-Mart To Rollout Raises

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Salt
12:03 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

A Wet And Wild Look Inside The 'Mushroom Houses' Of A Fungi Farm

Mushrooms from a farm in Chester County, Pa., dubbed the "Mushroom Capital of America."
Rich Roberts/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 3:29 pm

As most people know, mushrooms love dark places. You can find them growing in the dim recesses of forests or at the foot of old trees. But is that where we get most of the mushrooms that end up in our hearty risottos and juicy portabella sandwiches?

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Shots - Health News
11:37 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Humana Discloses Widening Justice Dept. Probe Of Medicare Advantage Plans

Health insurer Humana Inc. disclosed that its Medicare Advantage plans are being looked at by the feds.
Brian Bohannon AP

Humana, Inc. faces new scrutiny from the Justice Department over allegations it has overcharged the government by claiming some elderly patients enrolled in its popular Medicare plans are sicker than they actually are.

The Louisville, Ky.-based insurer disclosed the Justice Department's recent civil "information request" in an annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 18. The company noted that it is cooperating with authorities.

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Wal-Mart Gives 500,000 Employees A Pay Raise

Wal-Mart says it will raise hourly wages for thousands of full- and part-time employees.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 2:29 pm

Some 500,000 Wal-Mart employees will soon be getting a pay raise. Starting in April, the company's full- and part-time U.S. employees will earn at least $9 an hour, at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage.

The pay boost will also apply to employees of Sam's Club, which is owned by Wal-Mart.

The retailer says wages will jump to at least $10 one year from now.

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Greece Seeks To Extend Eurozone Loans, As Deadline Looms

Greece's hopes for reaching a new compromise with Eurozone members on the terms of its loans are seen as hinging on promises to reform its economy β€” and submit to outside inspections.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:05 am

With the bailout package that has kept Greece's economy afloat set to expire in just over a week, the country has formally asked Eurozone members for a six-month extension. Finance ministers will hold an emergency meeting Friday to consider the proposal.

The new request will face opposition, with Deutsche Welle reporting, "A spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang SchΓ€uble rejected the proposal saying it lacked substance."

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Planet Money
3:00 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Ecuador's Answer To The Global Cocoa Shortage

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 5:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Salt
1:26 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Chocolate Makeover: Nestle Dumps Artificial Colorings

Nestle announced that it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products β€” including the dyes used to give the inside of a Butterfinger, like this one, that orange hue.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 1:14 pm

Some of America's most popular chocolate bars β€” including the Baby Ruth and the Butterfinger β€” are about to get an ingredient makeover. Nestle USA announced it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products by the end of 2015.

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The Salt
2:59 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Will A Tipped-Wage Hike Kill Gratuities For New York's Waiters?

Diners fill Riverpark, a New York City restaurant, in January. Restaurateurs fear that the tipped-wage hike being proposed in New York will force them to get rid of tipping altogether.
Brad Barket Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 5:59 pm

The restaurant economy of New York City may be nearing a tipping point.

State officials are recommending a big hike in the minimum hourly wage for people who work for tips. But that idea is giving many restaurateurs indigestion in New York City, home to more than 20,000 restaurants. Some say a tipped-wage hike could upend the whole system of tipping.

And many servers say tips are the No. 1 reason they started waiting tables.

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Food
2:56 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Some Gas Stations Find New Business As Food Destinations

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:59 pm

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Business
2:49 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

From Jobs To Car Parts, Port Dispute Rippling Through The Economy

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:59 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Salt
1:49 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Heaps Of Oranges Could Rot As West Coast Dock Dispute Drags On

Oranges sit in crates at the Rancho Del Sol Organics farm in San Diego County, Calif., in 2014. A labor dispute at major West Coast ports has left millions of pounds of California oranges stranded in warehouses and on half-loaded boats.
Sam Hodgson Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 12:23 pm

California citrus growers are caught in the middle of a labor dispute between dockworkers and shipping lines that could end with millions of pounds of rotten oranges.

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Media
1:00 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

David Remnick Looks Back On Tough Decisions As 'The New Yorker' Turns 90

David Remnick has been the editor of The New Yorker since 1998.
Courtesy of The New Yorker

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:21 pm

When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine's owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing "all kinds of high-level chicanery."

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It's All Politics
12:47 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

2014 Midterm Election Was The Most Expensive One Yet

Supporters cheer in Colorado Springs, Colo., as a television broadcast declares that Republicans have taken control of the Senate. Republican candidates, party committees and outside groups spent about $44 million more than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 2:41 pm

As the presidential hopefuls chase after big donors, the Center for Responsive Politics brings us a quick look in the rearview mirror:

The 2014 congressional midterm elections cost $3.77 billion, the center says, making them β€” no surprise here β€” the most expensive midterms yet. CRP also reports that those dollars appeared to come from a smaller cadre of donors β€” 773,582, the center says. That's about 5 percent fewer than in the 2010 midterms.

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The Two-Way
8:55 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Blind Boy's Quest Prompts Australia To Plan Tactile Cash

The next generation of Australian dollar notes will include tactile features to help people with visual impairments differentiate between them, says the Reserve Bank of Australia. Last year, the agency met with a boy who started a petition asking for the change.
Torsten Blackwood AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 12:13 pm

It started with frustration at Christmas, says Connor McLeod, 13. Blind since birth, he couldn't tell how much money he'd been given. So he started a petition β€” and now the Reserve Bank of Australia says it will create bank notes with tactile features to help visually impaired people tell the difference between denominations.

McLeod explains to Australia's ABC network what prompted him to act:

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Parallels
8:52 am
Wed February 18, 2015

'You Are Invited': Isolated Iran Seeks Foreign Tourists

People ride a horse and carriage through Isfahan's central square in June 2014. With its immense mosques, picturesque bridges and ancient bazaar, the city is a virtual living museum of Iranian traditional culture and is a top tourist destination. After decades of difficult relations with the West, Iran now says it wants more foreign tourists, including Westerners.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 9:39 am

Two events last week suggested the conflicting currents in Iran. The country marked the anniversary of its revolution last Wednesday with the usual slogan, "Death to America." The following day, Iran opened an international tourism exhibition with a different slogan: "You are invited."

Iran wants to welcome more international tourists, including Americans. But that's a challenge for a country that's wary of outsiders, and closely monitors its own people.

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Prosecutors Raid HSBC's Geneva Office Over Suspected Money Laundering

Geneva Attorney General Olivier Jornot, center, leaves HSBC offices during a search of the private bank Wednesday. Swiss prosecutors have started searching offices of the Geneva subsidiary of HSBC bank in an inquiry relating to alleged money-laundering.
Harold Cunningham Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 1:17 am

Prosecutors in Geneva conducted a search of HSBC bank's Swiss headquarters Wednesday, looking for signs of what they termed "aggravated money laundering." The bank, recently accused of helping wealthy clients hide money from tax collectors, says it is cooperating.

Part of a criminal probe, the raid comes a week after leaked documents showed that HSBC's Swiss unit had helped international clients launder profits and shelter their holdings from their home countries.

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Around the Nation
3:20 am
Wed February 18, 2015

W.Va. Train Derailment Raises Safety Questions About Newer Tankers

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 5:24 am

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Business
2:37 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Why Slow Electronic Payments Can Cause Cash Flow Problems

Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wants payments to catch up with real-time life.
Josep M Suria iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 12:17 pm

Electronic messages can circle the globe in an instant these days. But electronic payments can still take days to complete, and that slow pace puts consumers at greater risk of getting hit with late payments, overdraft fees or other costs.

Now, regulators are pushing for faster electronic payments.

Jasmine Dareus, a college freshman, is scrolling through some recent bank statements. "A lot of it was books and stuff like that, like textbooks," she says.

One of those books cost $3.

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Economy
4:16 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Study Suggests Recession, Recovery Have Not Left The Rich Richer

Maggie Barcellano prepares dinner in January 2014 at her father's house in Austin, Texas. Barcellano, who lives with her father, enrolled in the food stamps program while she works as a home health aide and raises her 3-year-old daughter. A study suggests that social safety nets, including food stamps, helped cushion income losses for middle- and working-class Americans during the recession.
Tamir Kalifa AP

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:56 pm

The Great Recession exacted a huge toll on people in every income group, and recovering from it has been a long and grueling process.

To some economists, the recovery has exacerbated the very real trend toward income inequality in the United States. French economist Thomas Piketty has noted that between 2009 and 2012 incomes have grown, but almost all of those gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent.

It's a claim that has been repeated often, but Steven Rose of George Washington University says it needs to be put in perspective.

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Your Money
2:07 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Despite Recovery, Many Find Home Loans Still Hard To Get

A realty sign hangs in front of a home for sale in Orlando, Fla. Housing advocates say banks, stung by the housing crisis and its fallout, remain reluctant to lend.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:08 pm

It's been seven years since the housing crash. The housing market and the economy are both recovering. But housing advocates say you still have to have a near perfect credit score to get a loan from a major bank.

At first look, it seems like the trouble in the housing market has quieted down. There are fewer foreclosures. Home prices have stabilized and risen. But, as any parent with young kids will tell you, when things get too quiet that can be a bad sign.

Mike Calhoun, the president of the Center for Responsible Lending, says that's basically what's going on here.

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Parallels
2:01 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

EU-Greek Drama Deepens As A Deadline Approaches

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses lawmakers at the Parliament in Athens on Tuesday. Greece is in talks with European finance ministers over its debt.
Simela Pantzartzi EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 3:52 pm

This time, they're done. Through. They're walking out the door on Friday.

Unless they aren't. Unless they renew their vows and their union grows ever closer.

That's basically where Greek officials and European finance ministers are in their complicated relationship. After years of possible-breakup drama, a real deadline will arrive Friday and the parties must decide: Are we in this thing together or not?

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Middle East
3:05 am
Tue February 17, 2015

On Iran's Streets, 'Death To America' ... And Hope For A Nuclear Deal

Iranians commemorate the 36th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution near the Azadi Tower in Tehran on Wednesday. While many Iranians would like to reorder relations with the West, there's also plenty of skepticism about whether it will actually happen.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 11:01 am

At the anniversary of Iran's revolution, Iranians still chanted "Death to America." Yet many we encountered in a brief visit to the country seemed prepared to shift relations with the West.

We interviewed more than 20 people in three cities: Tehran, Isfahan and Kashan. Our talks were very far from a scientific sample. They took place in a country where citizens must speak with great care.

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All Tech Considered
1:33 am
Tue February 17, 2015

You Might Want To Take Another Pass At Your Passwords

They might be hard to remember sometimes, but good passwords may be the best defense against hackers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 10:24 am

Compromises of private corporate or consumer data are all too common. This month, health insurer Anthem announced its customer data was hacked.

Yet even President Obama last week poked fun at our common line of defense: the lazy password.

"It's just too easy for hackers to figure out usernames and passwords like 'password' or '123457.' Those are some of my previous passwords," he said.

In short, passwords have, in some cases, undermined their own security intent.

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Energy
2:51 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

With Quakes Spiking, Oil Industry Is Under The Microscope In Oklahoma

A functioning oil rig sits in front of the capital building in Oklahoma City, Okla. The oil industry is an important employer in the state, but officials are concerned a technique used to dispose of wastewater from oil extraction is behind a surge in earthquakes here.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 10:24 am

Out on Oklahoma's flat prairie, Medford, population about 900, is the kind of place where people give directions from the four-way stop in the middle of town.

It seems pretty sedate, but it's not. "We are shaking all the time," says Dea Mandevill, the city manager. "All the time."

The afternoon I stopped by, Mandevill says two quakes had already rumbled through Medford.

"Light day," she laughs. But, she adds, "the day's not over yet; we still have several more hours."

Mandevill may be laughing it off, but Austin Holland, the state seismologist, isn't.

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All Tech Considered
2:12 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Hygiene, Honey Pots, Espionage: 3 Approaches To Defying Hackers

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the cybersecurity startup CrowdStrike, says his company is building stockpiles of intelligence about potential hacking groups.
Keith Bedford Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:42 am

We're still waiting for details on how the hack against the health care company Anthem occurred.

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Remembrances
2:00 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Remembering Michele Ferrero, Candy Kingpin And Pioneer

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Report: Using Malware, Hackers Steal Millions From Banks

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 3:50 pm

Putting in place a sophisticated digital racket, hackers were able to steal millions of dollars from up to 100 banks in what the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is calling "the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen."

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All Tech Considered
3:55 am
Mon February 16, 2015

As Rules Get Sorted Out, Drones May Transform Agriculture Industry

Jimmy Underhill, drone technician for Agribotix, holds a drone at a farm in rural Weld County, Colorado.
Luke Runyon KUNC

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 2:57 pm

On a breezy morning next to a cornfield in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors.

"This one just flies itself," he says. "It's fully autonomous."

Underhill is a drone technician with Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone startup that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he's training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.

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NPR Story
2:56 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Labor Secretary Gets Involved In Stalled Port Talks

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 5:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
1:44 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Satisfied Patients Now Make Hospitals Richer, But Is That Fair?

Medical Park Hospital's patients tend to be pretty happy customers, leading to thousands of dollars in rewards from Medicare.
Novant Health

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 11:05 am

In Medical Park Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., Angela Koons is still a little loopy and uncomfortable after wrist surgery. Nurse Suzanne Cammer gently jokes with her. When Koons says she's itchy under her cast, Cammer warns, "Do not stick anything down there to scratch it!" Koons smiles and says, "I know."

Koons tells me Cammer's kind attention and enthusiasm for nursing has helped make the hospital stay more comfortable.

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