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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Social Security Trust Fund is being squeezed. It's now projected that the trust will no longer be able to fully fund benefits starting in 2033. That's more than two decades from now, but the new depletion date, as it's called, is three years earlier than last year's projections.

Mitt Romney on Monday endorsed the idea of extending a law that curbs interest rates paid by some recipients of federal student loans, a cause that President Obama has made a campaign issue.

A British winemaker has finally been given official approval to release a limited-edition wine made in collaboration with Malbec grape growers in Argentina, on one condition: It can't sell the wine, or label it a Malbec. Actually, it can't even call it wine at all.

The Chapel Down winery's only option for getting rid of its wine is to give it away as a sample, calling it a "fruit-derived alcoholic beverage from produce sourced outside the EU."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Last Word In Business

Apr 23, 2012

The denim store in Kobe, Japan, sells jeans for $350. The store is able to sell a pair of jeans for that price because it's tapped into a Japanese subculture that is obsessed by 1950s Americana.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Opponents have intensified a campaign against a group that drafts and promotes bills for state lawmakers to enact. The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, says it stands for limited government, free markets and federalism. The corporate-funded group has promoted much debated ideas - from voter ID rules to stand your ground gun laws.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Back a half-century ago, much of North Carolina's work force, 40 percent, got a paycheck from the textile industry. These days, it's less than 2 percent, with many of those lost jobs going overseas.

But one company - Raleigh Denim - has found a way to thrive in North Carolina, by making blue jeans the old-fashioned way. Here's Laurin Penland with the story.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Next, we have a tale of globalization, how a single fire at a company in Germany could affect business in Detroit or Shanghai.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The company is a chemical plant in a town called Marl. An explosion there killed two people. It was a tragedy, but did not seem to have global significance.

MONTAGNE: Until car companies realized that Marl is vital to their business. NPR's Sonari Glinton explains.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an acquisition for Nestle.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Later this week, we get some key data to help judge the state of the nation's housing market. There are some early signs of recovery, but home prices are still falling in many areas, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Tomorrow, we'll get the latest word on home prices from what's called the S&P Case-Shiller index. That keeps showing price declines in many areas. Though those price drops have been leveling off, so things definitely aren't as bad as they were.

The Export Boom: Who's Buying American?

Apr 21, 2012

In his State of the Union address two years ago, President Obama argued there were a few things the U.S. needed to do in order to recover from the economic recession. One of them was to export more of our goods around the world.

"The more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America," Obama said.

That night, the president unveiled a new goal: to double U.S. exports over the next five years. It would be an increase that the president said would "support two million jobs in America."

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Boston is getting the country's first commercial route flown by the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Now, the flight lifts off tomorrow afternoon, nonstop service from Boston to Tokyo. The Japan Airlines flight will also give a lift to Boston's economy, with Japanese tourists and business travelers now just 13 hours away.

From member WBUR in Boston, Curt Nickisch reports on the city's nonstop excitement.

Even before the financial crisis, Detroit was known for its undervalued real estate. Now, a bad situation is even worse.

Michael Bradley and his sister Annette Foreman have spent the last several months cleaning their mother's home. She died on Christmas Eve last year, and they're putting her house up for sale.

The four-story house, known as Stone Hedge, was originally built for Walter O. Briggs in 1915. Briggs was in the car business. His company built auto bodies, and he owned the Detroit Tigers.

It's the unscripted, offhand comments that get you in hot water in journalism. Yesterday, in an on-air conversation that introduced a piece on All Things Considered about how farmers in California's Salinas Valley try to keep harmful microbes out of bagged salad greens, we had this exchange in the studio:

Allison Aubrey: Does that mean we need to wash this stuff?

Audie Cornish: I wash it every time, I just don't know if it helps.

Arithmetic can be quite enlightening sometimes. One of the country's top agricultural economists just fiddled with the government's balance sheet on crop insurance, and arrived at a shocking conclusion: We'd spend billions of dollars less than we do now if we just gave away a simplified version of the insurance for free.

The Last Word In Business

Apr 20, 2012

Vegetarians and others were highly distressed after finding out that Starbucks uses a red coloring in some of its drinks that's made from crushed bugs. An online protest campaign delivered thousands of angry emails to Starbucks headquarters.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

The Florida judge in the case of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in February, set bail this morning of $150,000. Zimmerman took the stand during the hearing and told Martin's parents that he was sorry for the loss of their son. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but he claims self-defense. Cable TV news channels carried the bail hearing live.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news. The Federal Reserve and other banking regulators have granted banks a two-year grace period to come into compliance with the Volcker Rule. That's one of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill passed a couple of years ago. It restricts American banks from making trades that put the bank and depositor funds at risk.

But as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, regulators are struggling to iron out the details.

Two billionaires took the stand this week — both named Larry. Google's Larry Page and Oracle's Larry Ellison have very different styles and personalities. And that came across in court.

Business News

Apr 20, 2012

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a poor reception for Nokia's new smartphone.

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Yesterday, we reported on the fundraisers that lobbyists hold for Congressmen every day in Washington. Today, we hear what happens inside those events. The stories are part of our series on money in politics.

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.

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.

TV Goes To The Dogs At Home Alone

Apr 19, 2012

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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:

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.

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.

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.

Business News

Apr 19, 2012

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.

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