Business

The Two-Way
7:38 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Santa Monica Cracks Down On Airbnb, Bans 'Vacation Rentals' Under A Month

Santa Monica, Calif., is trying to block home rentals through Airbnb and other online services. The city will now impose a hotel tax on such rentals and mandate that permanent residents remain in the home with guests for stays less than 30 days.
Chris Weeks Getty Images

Santa Monica, Calif., is cracking down on Airbnb and the rest of the short-term rental industry. Tuesday night, the Santa Monica City Council adopted its home-sharing ordinance, which bans the rental of an entire unit for less than 30 days and requires those who take part in allowable home-sharing to obtain a business license from the city and pay a 14% hotel tax. The law takes effect June 15.

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All Tech Considered
3:58 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Facebook Courts News Giants Into A Deal To Share Viewers, And Revenues

Nine media organizations, including The New York Times and National Geographic, have signed a deal to distribute their content through a new Facebook feature called "Instant Articles."
Facebook

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 1:34 pm

In recent years, Twitter has become the go-to destination for news junkies. Now, Facebook is entering a deal with nine news organizations, including The New York Times, NBC News and Buzzfeed, to run some of their in-depth articles, photos and videos inside Facebook. No need to leave the app!

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It's All Politics
3:58 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Train Derailment Highlights Amtrak's Infrastructure Needs

An Amtrak train leaves Chicago's Union Station on its way to Los Angeles.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:56 pm

Amtrak was formed in the 1970s out of the ashes of several bankrupt rail lines, including the Penn Central. Its has been criticized for poor service, and shaky finances, but its safety record has been good.

More than 31 million passengers rode Amtrak in fiscal year 2013, the last for which figures are available. In the Northeast Corridor, more than 2,000 trains operate daily on Amtrak's rails, between commuter lines and Amtrak trains. And far more passengers ride Amtrak between Washington, New York and Boston than fly.

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It's All Politics
3:01 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

The Morning After: Lawmakers Vote To Reduce Amtrak Funding

"Starving rail of funding will not enable safer train travel," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, admonished Democrats: "Don't use this tragedy in that way," he said. "It was beneath you."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:24 pm

Transportation funding was going to get plenty of attention this week in Washington — even before an Amtrak train derailed about 140 miles to the north.

This is National Infrastructure Week, so lobbyists, labor leaders and activists started swarming Capitol Hill on Monday, seeking funds for roads, bridges and other projects related to transportation.

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Around the Nation
2:53 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

NTSB Continues Investigation Into Derailed Amtrak Train

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 4:56 pm

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

The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Senate Reaches Deal To Vote Thursday On 'Fast-Track' Trade Bill

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:19 pm

One day after Senate Democrats blocked the "fast-track" trade authority bill that has been championed by both President Obama and Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says an agreement has been reached to move forward.

The solution calls for separate votes on bills that Democrats had wanted to move as a single package on the floor, according to NPR's Ailsa Chang. Ailsa says the Senate will vote on a customs enforcement bill that includes Sen. Charles Schumer's safeguards aimed at reducing currency manipulation.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Nothing More To Say On Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw Says

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:27 pm

Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross he has said all he wants to say about Brian Williams, the man who succeeded him in the anchor's chair and who is serving a six-month suspension for exaggerating his experiences in the Iraq War.

Here's the exchange:

Gross: I just want to start by saying my understanding is you've said all you care to say about Brian Williams, true?

Brokaw: True.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Harriet Tubman Wins Unofficial Contest To Be On $20 Bill

With 118,328 votes, Harriet Tubman edged Eleanor Roosevelt in a campaign to put a female face on the $20 bill.
Womenon20s

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 11:22 am

The Women on 20s campaign, which seeks to put a female face on the $20 bill, has announced a winner: Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave whose ingenuity and courage led other captives to freedom.

Tubman narrowly edged Eleanor Roosevelt, finishing with 118,328 votes to Roosevelt's 111,227, according to Women on 20s. More than 600,000 votes were cast over 10 weeks, including more than 350,000 in the final round that began on April 5.

Early on, Roosevelt had led Tubman by nearly 15,000 votes, but the final round brought a reversal.

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Shots - Health News
8:09 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Here's A Radical Approach To Big Hospital Bills: Set Your Own Price

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 1:26 pm

In the late 1990s you could have taken what hospitals charged to administer inpatient chemotherapy and bought a Ford Escort econobox. Today, average charges for chemo, not even counting the price of the anti-cancer drugs, are enough to pay for a Lexus GX sport-utility vehicle.

Hospital prices have risen nearly three times as much as overall inflation since Ronald Reagan was president. Health payers have tried HMOs, accountable care organizations and other innovations in efforts to control them, with little effect.

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Business
4:39 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Vinyl's Comeback Keeps Record Pressers Busy

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 5:58 am

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

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF JACK WHITE SONG, "HIGH BALL STEPPER")

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Politics
4:14 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Vote On Obama's Fast-Track Trade Bill Blocked By Senate Democrats

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 12:43 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Television
4:13 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Show On ABC Is Part Of Disney's Effort To Revive Muppet Franchise

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 5:58 am

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

Media
3:07 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Facebook Debuts Instant News Articles From News Organizations

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 5:58 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This item just popped up in our newsfeed - Facebook's latest move to be your prime destination on the Internet.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
5:53 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

China Smartphone Sales Shrink, Market 'Increasingly Saturated,' Report Says

Analysts say so many people in China already have smartphones, to sell more units, manufacturers will have to convince them to upgrade.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 7:39 am

Smartphone sales in China contracted by about 4 percent year-on-year from January through March, according to International Data Corp., the American market analysis firm. Sales for the first quarter were just under 100 million. IDC says this is the first time in six years that the smartphone market in China declined year-on-year.

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Your Money
3:46 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

You've Saved Money At The Pump. Why Aren't You Spending It?

A customer fuels his car at a gas station in Pembroke, Mass. Economists say Americans have been slow to spend the money they saved from lower energy prices.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 5:48 pm

Even though it's crept up in the past couple of months, the price of a gallon of gasoline is still about $1 less than it was a year ago. That's saving drivers $15 to $20 every time they fill up.

Economists were quite convinced late last year that would boost growth because consumers would go out and spend that extra money. But things have not unfolded exactly as forecast.

There's no doubt the plunge in oil prices and the lower costs for gasoline, heating oil and natural gas gave consumers a big windfall.

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Pop Culture
3:02 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Just How Do 'Thomas & Friends' Drive Sodor's Economy?

Sir Topham Hatt: benevolent CEO or robber baron?
HIT Entertainment

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 7:14 am

Is Sir Topham Hatt a robber baron or a paternalistic CEO? Are Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends part of a union? How does anyone make money on the Island of Sodor?

Turns out, these are some of the serious issues that have perplexed more than one grown-up forced to read or watch Thomas & Friends for the umpteenth time with their kids. On the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, the books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry that spawned the shiny engines, we explore this elaborate train of thought.

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Business
2:57 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Verizon Buys AOL In $4.4 Billion Deal

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 5:22 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Fast-Track Trade Measure Fails Key Test Vote In Senate

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 2:38 pm

Democrats in the Senate have blocked — for now — a vote on the fast-track trade authority that President Obama had sought and Republicans had supported.

The tally was 52 to 45 in favor, eight short of the 60-vote threshold needed to take up the bill.

It's a rebuke to Obama, who has made the trade bill a key part of his second-term agenda, from his fellow Democrats.

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The Salt
11:46 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Matcha-maker, Matcha-maker, Make Me Some Tea

Matcha tea powder comes in two grades: ingredient and drinking. The drinking grade comes from the leaves at the top of the tea plant.
Courtesy of Alissa White

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 4:18 pm

Just like flared jeans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and thighs without a gap, matcha tea powder is in fashion in America.

You can grab a matcha latte at Starbucks. Whole Foods stocks the green tea powder on its shelves. Or now that warm weather is here, maybe you'll order a Matcha Green Tea Blast smoothie from Jamba Juice.

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Shots - Health News
11:38 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Short On Sleep? You Could Be A Disaster Waiting To Happen

Workers try to remove some of the 11 million gallons of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez off Alaska in 1989. The ship's third mate may have been up for 18 hours before the accident.
Rob Stapleton AP

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 8:25 am

Missing out on sleep pretty much guarantees feeling crummy the next day. But it can also lead to dangerous or even disastrous decision-making. Sleep-deprived operators failed to prevent the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

And during the Civil War, some historians think that Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson's confused command during the battles of June 1862 was due to sleep deprivation.

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Business
7:33 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Verizon Acquires AOL For $4.4 Billion

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 8:11 am

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

The Two-Way
5:43 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Verizon Inks $4.4 Billion Agreement To Buy AOL

The AOL logo is posted on a sign in front of the AOL Inc. offices in Palo Alto, California.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 8:02 am

Verizon Communications has agreed to pay $4.4 billion to buy AOL Inc.

In a press release, Verizon said the all-cash acquisition will help build its digital and video platforms.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

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Business
5:22 am
Tue May 12, 2015

IKEA Offers Breakfast In Bed

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 6:12 am

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

Business
3:34 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Shell Gets Interior Department's Ok To Drill Off Alaska's Arctic Shore

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 6:12 am

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

Transcript

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It's All Politics
3:00 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Sen. Warren On The 'Tilted Process' Of Asia Trade Bill

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been a leading voice on the left against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the president's signature trade initiative.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 11:06 am

The Senate could begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would give President Obama fast-track authority to complete a Pacific Rim trade agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become the president's signature trade initiative, but it is also very unpopular with Democrats.

Leading the charge from the left against the deal in Congress is Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. She says the TPP could result in the watering down of Wall Street regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act, after the 2008 financial crisis.

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The Salt
1:45 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Sheep Ranchers Count On American Muslims To Keep Lamb On Menu

Sheep are sold in small lots like this one at the Centennial Livestock Auction in Fort Collins, Colo.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 1:23 pm

Sheep ranchers, feedlot owners, and processors in states like Colorado, Nebraska and Illinois are banking on America becoming a more diverse place.

Specifically, they want American Muslims to buy more of their lamb.

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The Salt
4:10 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Why Food Companies Should Be More Afraid Of Water Scarcity

Coca-Cola cans on a production line at a bottling plant near New Delhi in 2013. The company decided in April 2015 not to build an $81 million bottling plant in southern India because local farmers said it might exhaust groundwater supplies.
Prakash Singh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 7:50 am

America's biggest food production companies face a growing threat of water scarcity, according to a new report from Ceres, an environmental sustainability group.

Producing food, after all, requires more water than almost any other business on Earth. And the outlook isn't pretty: One-third of food is grown in areas of high or extremely high water stress, while pollution and climate change are further limiting supplies of clean water around the world.

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Parallels
2:44 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Saudi Women Can't Drive To Work; So They're Flocking To The Internet

Nouf al-Mazrou, with the red head scarf in the center, runs a barbeque catering business from her home in the Saudi capital Riyadh. She's shown here at a gathering of Saudi women who have launched businesses on Instagram. The event was held at a private girls school.
Deborah Amos / NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 7:14 am

In a country where women are prohibited from driving themselves to work, technology is opening new avenues to the job market in Saudi Arabia.

Thousands of women use Instagram, the popular photo-sharing site, to launch businesses that sell goods and services, from cupcakes to sushi, in the desert kingdom.

At a recent convention of Instagram businesses, hundreds of women set up booths at a private girls school in the capital Riyadh to share success stories.

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Business
2:42 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

New York Announces Crackdown On Nail Salons

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 1:57 pm

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

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
2:42 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Why California Farmers Are Conflicted About Using Less Water

Tanimura & Antle workers use tractors to install drip tape into fields that will be used to grow lettuce and other crops in California's Salinas Valley.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:39 pm

The drought across much of the Western U.S. is now in its fourth year. In California — where it's the most intense — farms are not under the same strict orders to conserve as cities are.

And inside the agriculture industry, farmers are quietly debating how best to respond to the drought. Given uncertainty around pending state regulations, some say there may be an incentive to not invest in water-saving technologies right now.

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