Business

Business
5:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

D.C. Wage Rift Puts Spotlight On Wal-Mart's Urban Push

The scene in a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Va. Cities are a key growth area for retailers since suburbs are already saturated with big-box stores.
AP

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 8:00 pm

Wal-Mart's long-standing plans to come to Washington, D.C., are now up in the air. The City Council passed a living wage law that would require the world's largest retailer to pay $12.50 an hour, more than the city's current $8.25 minimum wage.

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Business
3:27 am
Sun July 14, 2013

Baggage Fees Turn Five Years Old; Passengers Turn Blase

A traveler collects his bag from a luggage carousel in the Philadelphia International Airport in 2011. Baggage fees have helped financially desperate carriers stay aloft.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 12:41 pm

Hey, baggage fees — happy fifth birthday!

Even if passengers aren't eager to celebrate, airlines are. The fees, born in 2008, helped financially desperate carriers stay aloft as the U.S. economy was spiraling down.

"That was a watershed year that scared the bejeezus out of the airline industry," said Mark Gerchick, an aviation consultant who has just released a book, Full Upright and Locked Position. Even as ticket sales were sliding, jet fuel prices were shooting to historic highs.

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Business
4:38 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

In The World Of Air Travel, Not All Passengers Created Equal

Only a few of these passengers will be able to get flights out of San Francisco, depending on how many miles they fly and their "value" to the airline.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:36 pm

When Asiana Flight 214 from South Korea crashed onto the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, hundreds of flights into that airport were canceled, stranding thousands of travelers at airports across the country.

The Asiana crash came right in the middle of a holiday weekend, disrupting airline networks. And it occurred during a weekend when many flights were intentionally overbooked.

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Business
4:35 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

France Battles Scourge Of Ready-To-Eat Meals In Restaurants

We're guessing microwavable, premade meals are not an issue in this kitchen, at the three-Michelin-star restaurant L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges near Lyon, France.
Laurent Cipriani AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 2:47 pm

France's vaunted culinary culture has been taking it on the chin lately.

First came the news, which we told you about in April, that the majority of France's restaurants are now fast-food joints.

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Business
3:52 am
Mon July 8, 2013

EU-U.S. Trade: A Tale Of Two Farms

Farmer Richard Wilkins, a firm believer in genetically modified crops, examines the corn crop at his farm in Greenwood, Del. U.S. and EU officials begin talks Monday on an ambitious free-trade agreement. One stumbling block is agriculture. Unlike the U.S., the EU bans the cultivation of genetically modified crops.
Jackie Northam/NPR

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 2:12 pm

U.S. and EU officials begin talks Monday on an ambitious free-trade agreement aimed at generating billions of dollars of new trade. But negotiators must overcome barriers created by cultural and philosophical differences over sectors like agriculture. In Europe, the cultivation of genetically modified crops is banned, while in the U.S., they are a central part of food production. NPR's Jackie Northam visited a farm in Delaware and NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited one in Burgundy, France, to look at those deep-seated differences. We hear from Jackie first.

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Business
10:03 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine?

Same pills. Lower price.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 9:03 pm

Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?

Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.

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Business
6:51 am
Tue July 2, 2013

New Kind Of Ikea Hack: Flat-Packs Head To Refugee Camps

Check out the video at the bottom of the page to see how this box transforms ...
Ikea Foundation

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 11:20 am

My name is Maureen, and I am an Ikea-holic. Sure, I laughed knowingly at The Narrator's "slave to Ikea" speech as much as the next Fight Club fan. But the awful truth is, I've got a Beddinge in my bedroom.

And I'm not embarrassed to say so.

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Business
3:29 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Top Vatican Bank Officials Resign

Ernst von Freyberg, president of the Vatican Bank Institute for Works of Religion, or IOR, talks with The Associated Press during an interview June 10 at his office in Vatican City. He was named the bank's interim director on Monday after the director and the deputy director both resigned.
Domenico Stinellis AP

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 8:42 pm

Two top officials of the Vatican bank resigned Monday just days following the arrest of a senior cleric with ties to the institution after police caught him with the equivalent of about $26 million in cash that they say he was trying to bring into Italy from Switzerland.

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Business
3:44 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Student Loan Rates Set To Double On July 1

The interest rate on new Stafford loans is going to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:00 pm

The interest rate on government-backed student loans is going to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday.

Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration could not agree on a plan to keep it from happening. Lawmakers say a deal is still possible after the July 4 recess. But if they don't agree on a plan soon, 7 million students expected to take out new Stafford loans could be stuck with a much bigger bill when they start paying the money back.

It has been one of the more heated debates in Washington this year.

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Business
3:43 am
Fri June 28, 2013

In Phoenix, 'Zombie' Subdivisions Rise From The Dead

Workers frame a home in Gilbert, Ariz., near Phoenix, in July 2012. Developers are buying up half-built and vacated subdivisions amid renewed demand for housing.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:57 am

Developers in Phoenix are scrambling to keep up with another frenzied demand for housing. During the Great Recession, homebuilders in the suburbs abandoned neighborhoods that were only half-built. These so-called zombie subdivisions left a ring of unfinished construction around the city.

But now, the zombies are waking up.

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Business
3:03 am
Thu June 20, 2013

A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature

Rodan Gatia gets water from a spring. A chlorine dispenser is behind her.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:38 am

In many parts of the developing world, drinking a glass of water can be deadly — especially for young children, who can die of diarrheal diseases contracted from dirty water.

So getting clean water to people in the developing world has been a top priority for aid groups for a long time. But it's been a surprisingly hard problem to solve.

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Business
3:21 am
Wed June 19, 2013

U.S. Automakers Are On A Roll, But Hiring Is Slow And Steady

A worker installs parts on a Chrysler SUV engine at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. Plants in the U.S. are now operating above 90 percent capacity, but automakers are wary of adding large numbers of new workers.
Geoff Robins AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:40 am

There is one basic question that keeps being asked about the U.S. auto industry: Is it on the rebound?

"People ask a lot, is the auto industry back?" says Kristin Dziczek, a director at the Center for Automotive Research. "And it depends on what scale you want to look at."

So if we're looking at scales, let's start with productivity. In this case, how many work hours it takes to build a car. Productivity in U.S. plants is 39 percent higher than it was in 2000. "Productivity has never been this high," Dziczek says.

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Business
3:05 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Why Buy A House When You Can Buy A Mountain?

Jeff Rosenthal, co-founder of Summit, in front of Powzilla, an open-top Suburban turned rock crawler.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:55 pm

It's not your everyday real estate deal. A team of young entrepreneurs persuaded about 50 deep-pocketed investors to help them purchase a mountain. The deal just closed in April, and development on Utah's nearly 10,000-acre Powder Mountain is now underway.

"When we made those first phone calls, everybody's like, what? That being said, they know that we aren't kidding," says Jeff Rosenthal, co-founder of Summit, the group that led the purchase of the peak.

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Business
3:59 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

FTC Can Sue Firms In 'Pay For Delay' Drug Deals, Court Rules

The Supreme Court has ruled that the FTC can challenge arrangements between makers of generic drugs and makers of brand-name products such as AndroGel, seen here on a computer monitor screen.
Reed Saxon AP

When the maker of a brand-name drug pays a maker of generic drugs to not produce a lower-priced version of their product, the Federal Trade Commission can challenge the arrangement on antitrust grounds, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. The ruling may end the era of what regulators call "pay-for-delay" deals.

The justices voted 5-3 to allow a case to go forward in which the FTC is challenging one of many such deals. Several companies are involved in the case, including Solvay Pharmaceuticals, maker of AndroGel, and generic-drug maker Actavis.

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Business
3:19 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Why More People Are Renting Tires

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 1:44 pm

"Oh, I checked every place in town, and they were outrageous," says Shannon Kelly. "It would be anywhere from $4[00] to $500, and I just don't have that right now."

Kelly had just walked into Rent N Roll, a rent-to-own tire store in Ocala, Fla. She was looking to rent a set of tires for her truck. Tire rental stores like this one have been around for a while, but until recently, most of their customers rented fancy rims. These days, it's becoming more common for the stores to rent simple tires to people who don't have the cash to buy tires outright.

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Business
11:51 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Old McDonald Might Be A Lady: More Women Take Up Farming

Lisa Steketee restocks strawberries during the Laramie Farmers Market in Wyoming, in 2009.
Ben Woloszyn AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 12:18 pm

More women are getting into farming, according to a recent analysis from the U.S Department of Agriculture.

The agency crunched numbers from the Agriculture Census and found that the number of U.S. farms operated by women nearly tripled over the past three decades, from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by 2007.

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Business
11:49 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Report: Overdraft Protection Puts Customers 'At Greater Risk'

Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 1:44 pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking at how overdraft fees affect consumers in a detailed report released Tuesday.

One of the stunning finds: "Overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees accounted for 61 percent of total consumer deposit account service charges in 2011 among the banks in the CFPB report."

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June 2013
12:23 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

What's Hot In Financial Markets Today

As a result of Joe Chornyak's recent meetings with portfolio managers, he uncovered some surprising insights as to what is HOT in financial markets today. Don't miss this video in which he shares with us his thoughts on creating the greatest opportunity over the long haul.

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Business
5:53 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Golden Years Tainted As Retirement Savings Dwindle

Michael and Katharine Powers don't expect to be able to retire. Here, they are with two of their daughters and Michael's grandfather.
Courtesy of the Powers family

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 8:58 am

"I'm a carpenter/cabinet-maker/woodworker, and I think I'll be retiring the day I die."

Michael Powers, 47, is not alone in his retirement insecurity. According to a Pew study published in May, members of Generation X — aged 38 to 47 — are on track to be the first generation to do worse in retirement than their parents. Assuming they retire at all.

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Business
8:14 am
Fri June 7, 2013

What Will Jobs Report Say? Slow Growth Is Best Bet

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 10:41 am

There was modest job growth once again in May even as the nation's unemployment rate ticked up, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

According to BLS:

-- 175,000 jobs were added to public and private payrolls last month, slightly more than economists had expected.

-- The jobless rate rose to 7.6 percent from April's 7.5 percent. That rate can rise even as more jobs are added because the size of the labor force has also gone up.

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