Business

Planet Money
3:05 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Poker Players Use Science To Effectively Give To Charities

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:02 am

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Here is the final moment from this year's World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

(SOUNDBITE OF ESPN BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: And the king will finish it. Martin Jacobson is poker's 2014 world champion.

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Economy
3:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Despite Some Clouds, U.S. Economic Forecast Looks Sunny

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:25 pm

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

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Economy
3:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Lower Gas Prices Add Fuel To U.S. Economic Recovery

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 1:21 pm

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

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Europe
3:02 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Lower Oil Prices Drain Value Of Russians' Money

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:02 am

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

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Around the Nation
1:20 am
Wed December 24, 2014

The Year In Air Travel: Packed Planes And More Perks — For A Price

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 8:37 am

It's been a good year for commercial airlines.

With the economy recovering, more people are getting on planes and flying for both business and pleasure. And the cost of fuel, one of the airlines' biggest expenses, is dropping.

But as anyone traveling for the holidays can tell you, airfares remain high. And many frequent fliers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport say they wouldn't give the airlines perfect grades this year.

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Economy
5:04 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

A Backlash Brews Against Low Pay On The Factory Floor

Nissan workers at a plant in Canton, Miss. The auto company received financial incentives, including tax relief, from the state for the factory.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 1:53 pm

Forty years ago, a manufacturing job was often a ticket into the middle class. That's not the case today. Wages for manufacturing jobs are plummeting, and some states are questioning whether competing for those jobs is still worth it.

For Cynthia Hunter, a $9-per-hour manufacturing job offer meant she could stay in the workforce after taking a buyout from her management job at Exxon Mobil in 2012.

"I was scared to stay out of the marketplace," says Hunter, 58. "I mean, I have worked all these years, and I never in my life collected unemployment — ever."

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Tue December 23, 2014

'The Interview' To Play In More Than 200 Theaters On Christmas Day

A poster for The Interview. Some theaters now say they will show the comedy, which Sony Pictures had pulled following threats.
Jim Ruymen UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:32 am

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

More than 200 theaters will now show The Interview on Christmas Day, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures tells NPR.

Sony had pulled the controversial comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after ominous threats were made, allegedly by a group that hacked the studio's emails. The nation's largest theater chains had also said they won't show the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

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The Salt
8:57 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Farm Fresh? Natural? Eggs Not Always What They're Cracked Up To Be

Cage-free eggs for sale in 2008 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Joel Kramer/Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:49 pm

You're in the supermarket gathering ingredients for eggnog and a Christmas Bundt cake, and you're staring at a wall of egg cartons. They're plastered with terms that all sound pretty wonderful: All-Natural, Cage-Free, Free-Range, Farm Fresh, Organic, No Hormones, Omega-3. And so on.

And yet the longer you stare at them, the more confused you become. You are tired and hungry, so you just grab the cheapest one — or the one with the most adorable chicken illustration — and head for the checkout line.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Keurig Recalls 7 Million Coffee Machines Following Reports Of Burns

Keurig is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31).
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 10:50 am

Keurig, the company that makes the popular single-serve coffee machines, is recalling 7 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems, with the model number K10 (previously identified as B31), the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Tue December 23, 2014

U.S. Economy Grew At A 5 Percent Rate; Dow Surpasses 18,000

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 12:55 pm

The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly fast 5 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, up sharply from the 3.9 percent of the last revision. The figure blew past the consensus estimate of 4.3 percent put forth by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

It's the fastest the U.S. economy has grown in one quarter in more than a decade: The GDP grew at a 6.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2003.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Dow Tops 18,000 For First Time

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Europe
4:11 am
Tue December 23, 2014

We Go Underground To Tour London's Crossrail Project

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:28 am

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

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Business
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Year Later, Delivery Services Up Their Holiday Game

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 3:12 pm

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

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, here's an idea for a lampooning December movie - it's the holidays and shipping companies can't get their act together. They disappoint millions of customers because they can't deliver gifts on time.

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All Tech Considered
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Is Sony Hack Really 'The Worst' In U.S. History, As CEO Claims?

Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the computer hacking against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." Experts say other attacks have affected more people.
David McNew Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 4:54 pm

The CEO of Sony Pictures has been saying that the cyberattack against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." And you can see where he's coming from. An entire feature film got canned — at least for now. And his corporate networks were so damaged, Sony workers had to revert to using fax machines to communicate. That said, "the worst" is a big claim.

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All Tech Considered
3:50 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

What You Need To Know About Subprime Lending For Smartphones

Startup Better Finance is offering lease-to-own programs for high-end smartphones. But some customers say that retail stores, such as MetroPCS, aren't always clear about the lease terms up front.
Larry W. Smith EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 4:29 pm

If you visit a local strip mall or downtown shopping street, it's not hard to find a store where customers can lease-to-own. That is, you can pay over time and eventually, after some chunky fees, a flat screen TV or living room set is yours.

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Business
6:47 am
Mon December 22, 2014

The 5 Business Stories That Made 2014 A Memorable Year

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen, stars of The Interview, arrive for the film's Los Angeles premiere on Dec. 11. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pulled from theaters after a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film. The FBI said the attack was traced to the North Korean government.
Jim Ruymen UPI/Landov

As the year's end approaches, economists are looking back and assessing the news stories that shaped 2014.

Though their lists may vary, most analysts are pointing to five developments that had very big impacts on the U.S. economy. These were the biggies for 2014:

Oil Prices Plunge

No one saw this one coming. When 2014 began, a barrel of crude oil was selling for about $110. It hovered there until late spring, when the price ticked up to nearly $115.

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Movies
3:37 am
Mon December 22, 2014

For Updated 'Annie', The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:37 am

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

Technology
3:25 am
Mon December 22, 2014

What's Hot In Tech Gifts This Year?

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 8:18 am

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

Politics
3:05 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Treasury Nomination Sparks Fight Among Democrats

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:37 am

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

Energy
1:44 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Heating New England Homes: The Good And Bad News

Low heating oil prices mean New Englanders don't have to bundle up at home this year, but they will have to watch their rising electric bills.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 1:55 pm

Falling oil prices are perhaps nowhere more welcome than in northern New England, where most homes burn heating oil in their furnaces. But cheaper heating oil is refilling consumers' pockets just as high electric prices are emptying them out.

For example, a heating oil truck delivers 600 gallons of heating oil every two weeks to an old, four-story brick building in Concord, N.H. At last year's oil prices, each refill would have cost around $2,200. Right now, it's more than $300 cheaper.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Obama Calls North Korean Hack 'Cybervandalism'

Sony Pictures Studios headquarters building is seen in Culver City, Calif., on Friday. President Obama has criticized Sony for cancelling distribution of The Interview following after the studio was hacked by North Korea.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 12:40 pm

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama told CNN that he doesn't consider North Korea's hack of Sony Pictures an act of war, but instead a case of "cyber-vandalism." But he stands by his criticism of the movie studio for pulling the satirical film The Interview because its plot angers Pyongyang.

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Latin America
3:06 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Renewed U.S.-Cuba Ties Could Mean Big Things For Cigar Market

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 4:40 pm

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

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Think Cuba, think cigars. David Savona is the executive editor of Cigar Aficionado magazine. David, welcome to the program.

DAVID SAVONA: Thanks, glad to be here.

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Asia
3:06 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

While U.S. Focuses On Sony Hack, Some Of The World Is In The Dark

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 4:40 pm

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

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The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Many States Now Have $2 Gasoline, Analyst Says

On Cue in Oklahoma City, was reportedly the first station to lower regular unleaded below $2 a gallon. Now, 24 states have $1.99 gasoline.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Remember when we told you earlier this month that a gas station in Oklahoma City had lowered its price for regular unleaded to $1.99 a gallon?

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The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

CEO Says Sony Pictures 'Did Not Capitulate,' Is Exploring Options

Responding to criticism over the handling of The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says his studio "very much wanted to keep the picture in release."
DAVID MCNEW Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:33 pm

On a day when President Obama added his voice to criticisms over the decision to pull the satire The Interview, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton says the studio "did not capitulate" to hackers, and that its actions have been misunderstood.

Lynton defended his studio in an interview on All Things Considered, saying that Sony still wants an audience to see The Interview — if not in theaters, then by other means.

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Economy
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Government Sells Last Major Stake In A Bank Post-Financial Crisis

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Business
2:43 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

New Cuba Relationship Could Be A Boon For American Farmers

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:58 pm

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

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Apple Responds To BBC On Conditions At Asian iPhone Suppliers

People walk near several buildings of a Pegatron factory in Shanghai, China, in July 2013. Pegatron is a supplier for Apple products.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president for operations, has responded to a BBC report that workers at Asian suppliers for the iPhone 6 are mistreated and overworked, saying he's "deeply offended" by the accusations.

In an email to some 5,000 Apple staff in the United Kingdom, Williams hit back at the British broadcaster's Panorama program, which sent in undercover reporters to observe conditions at the Pegatron factory, near Shanghai, where iPhones are assembled.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Instagram Is Now Valued At $35 Billion By Citigroup Analysts

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:19 pm

Less than three years after Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion, the photo-sharing service is now worth $35 billion, according to analysts at Citigroup.

Instagram's user base has skyrocketed since the acquisition, in part because of its integration with Facebook but also because the purchase roughly coincided with the release of an Instagram app for Android smartphones.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it surpassed 300 million users.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama Says Sony Should Not Have Pulled Film Over Threats

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:04 pm

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

President Obama called Sony's decision to pull its film The Interview, following threats to movie theaters, a "mistake."

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," the president said in his year-end news conference.

He added that he was "sympathetic" to Sony's concerns, but, "I wish they would have spoken to me first."

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

3 Business Best-Sellers Show Inequality Is Now The Hot Topic

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 12:30 pm

Best-selling business books typically tell you how to get rich — either by becoming a better worker or investor, or perhaps by learning the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.

And in 2014, readers could find plenty of books promoting pluck and hard work, such as MONEY Master the Game and The Innovators.

But three books broke the pattern, generating headlines and big sales by focusing on unfair aspects of wealth creation.

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