Business news

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

'Hacking For Sale' A Lucrative Business

Apr 9, 2012

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.

What Makes Gas Prices Continue To Rise?

Apr 9, 2012

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.

"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.

No, You Can't Deduct That

Apr 9, 2012

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

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.

Sony Reportedly Cutting 10,000 Jobs

Apr 9, 2012



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


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.

The Nation: Treading Dangerous Water With Jobs

Apr 9, 2012

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.

Weekly Standard: A Disappointing Jobs Report

Apr 9, 2012

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



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.

Business News

Apr 9, 2012



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


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.

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.

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

A Brief History Of The Mobile Phone

Apr 8, 2012



A new Smartphone goes on sale. The Nokia Lumina 900 represents the Finnish company's big and somewhat desperate effort to regain a toehold in the all-important U.S. market.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman offers this brief history of America's infatuation with the mobile phone.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: In The iconic 1987 film "Wall Street," Michael Douglas strolls the beach with and uses his cell phone to congratulate an associate on making a ton of money.


At a government-run public middle school in Bangalore, the blackboard's cracking, the textbooks are tattered and most of the students are barefoot.

But with all those challenges, the biggest obstacle that teachers face in keeping kids in school is hunger. Many students show up at school having had nothing to eat for breakfast.

On mornings one student comes to school hungry, the thought of school makes her break down, she says.

"When I had to get on the bus, I would start crying," says K. Suchitra, 13.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month according to the Labor Department. A few years ago, that would have had economists cheering. Today, they're using words like disappointing. Here's the problem, 120,000 is half as many jobs as the economy added in February and far fewer than most observers were expecting.

The U.S. economy added only 120,000 jobs in March, far below expectations. The job gains were the smallest in five months. The report isn't a conclusive verdict on the economy. It could be an off month of weak growth or the sign of something more troubling — a serious hiring slowdown.

Hiring Climate Affects Small Businesses

Apr 6, 2012
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



You don't go through corporate communications to meet the executive steering committee at Gideon Shoes.

Instead, you walk through a basketball court with graffiti-covered walls and into a sound studio. There, Gideon employees are warming up their talking points: rap lyrics.

"There's no excuses in this life, so I'm fighting on. ... The flame inside my heart is more like a firestorm," they rap.

The team is made up of Suhkdeep Bhogal from India, Thane Poloai from Samoa and Allan from New Zealand, who doesn't want to give his last name.

Diane Turner can't find work. She spent 30 years managing dental practices in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, but lost her last job in that field a couple of years ago.

She worked for a while greeting customers at an auto body shop, but lost that job a year ago. "It was very depressing," Turner says. "I always worked, and I was always able to get a job."



It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's talk about the surprisingly weak jobs report that came out from the Labor Department today. The numbers for March show just 120,000 new jobs were added to U.S. payrolls. That's considered a disappointment, even though the unemployment rate did decline slightly, to 8.2 percent.

NPR's John Ydstie is here to talk with us about what all this means. Hi, John.


Part three of four

Robert Manne, one of Australia's top public intellectuals and journalists, tells me the first thing to know about The Australian.

"It is by far the most detailed paper in regard to national politics," he says. "And it's also at a higher level of analysis, in general, than the other papers."

Second, he says, the paper is "smarter, sharper" than the others — with more resources and fewer profit demands to boot. Manne explains why:

Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about how the Republican budget by Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan compares with President Obama's proposal. The plans show differences on spending, taxes and dealing with the government.

The Last Word In Business

Apr 6, 2012

According to The Consumerist, the video game publisher received more than 250,000 reader votes for that distinction. It was singled out for deliberately holding back video game content so it can charge for it later, and for buying up small video game companies to squash competition.

Part 3 of a series on Silicon Valley's history

In Silicon Valley, the spotlight is often on young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas that will change the world — people like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, or Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

But for decades, two older titans of the high-tech industry thrived in that fast-paced world: Gordon Moore and Andy Grove of Intel.

Speaking recently in a rare joint interview, the two discussed how their company survived, and what they think of the current crop of Silicon Valley techies.

Intel's Odd Couple

After years of state budget cuts resulting in fewer classes, Santa Monica College has a solution. Starting this summer, certain classes will cost $180 per credit hour compared to the current price of $36 per credit hour. That's raised concerns of a two-tier system: one for those who have financial resources and another for those without.