Business & Education

Business & education news

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed it was the victim of hacking last year. And it says the hackers may have used some of the information they took for illicit stock trading. Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says cybercriminals got into the agency's files last year and accessed information that might have been used to give them a secret edge in trading.

The SEC says it had known about the intrusion in 2016 into its Edgar filing system, but learned this month that "nonpublic information" accessed may have been used for "illicit gain."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

With Hurricane Maria still smashing up Puerto Rico, the economic costs of this year's hurricane season continue to grow by the minute. It will take a while for economists to tally it all up.

But this much already is clear: The recent enormous storms have taken a toll on the housing industry.

Three separate industry reports, issued over the past three days, have all shown that rough weather in the South and wildfires in the West have been creating problems for this key economic sector.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it will hold short-term interest rates steady for the time being. But the central bank said that in October it will begin to unwind the extraordinary stimulus it used to battle the Great Recession.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the process will be gradual. But over the long run, the plan will put upward pressure on consumer interest rates, including for car loans and mortgages.

The letters "CFPB" may not be much more than alphabet soup to your average student loan borrower. They stand for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new-ish federal agency — created in 2011 — with a unique mission and a big effect on student lenders and for-profit colleges accused of defrauding or otherwise mistreating Americans.

An estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. each year, enough to fill Chicago's Willis Tower 44 times. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted annually.

These are tough times for Washington's roughly 400 think tanks — the policy factories where scholars get paid to study issues and give politicians advice. Powerful external forces are reshaping the industry.

One current example is the left-leaning New America Foundation, founded in 1999. It works on public policies for the digital age. Last month it landed in the think tank industry's latest money controversy.

Copyright 2017 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

After the revelation that a cybersecurity breach at the international credit reporting agency Equifax exposed personal information of 143 million people, the company has confirmed an additional security incident with a payroll-related service in the months prior. It says the two are unrelated.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

Even as former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly appeared Tuesday on rival NBC to deny that he had ever sexually harassed colleagues, Fox was acting to defend itself on several fronts in court and in the court of public opinion.

In the most prominent instance, Fox is seeking to scuttle yet another lawsuit — this one filed over a retracted story about the late Seth Rich — by convincing a judge that the key source in the story should be treated as an employee.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they're banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

Rolling Stone magazine is facing a defamation suit — again — as a federal appeals court ruled that three former University of Virginia students have a plausible case that they were personally implicated in a now-retracted story about an alleged gang rape.

The lawsuit began more than two years ago but was dismissed by a district court. Now the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the case should move forward, at least in part.

In 2009, food writer Emma Christensen began brewing beer at home. She quickly grew to love each stage of the hours-long process, much of which is spent tending to a crock of boiling wort, or unfermented beer, and adding hops every few minutes. Over the course of making more than a hundred batches, she has become skilled at the art of turning barley, water, hops and yeast into beer.

It was the lawsuit that rocked Silicon Valley.

In 2012, tech investor Ellen Pao sued her employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender bias. She accused her bosses of not promoting her because she was a woman — and then retaliating against her when she complained.

The dollar is down nearly 10 percent since the beginning of the year. That's bad news if you're a tourist traveling to Europe, but great news if your U.S. company sells goods overseas.

The greenback's tumble against a basket of currencies reflects both positive and negative trends, analysts say.

The biggest factor in the dollar's decline is doubts among currency investors that the Trump administration will be able to put in place pro-growth policies, says Jens Nordvig, CEO of Exante Data, a financial advisory firm.

The retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, and Toys R Us has been trying to maintain its foothold in the industry amid a heavy debt load and the rise of online shopping.

Late Monday, the largest U.S. toy chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Richmond, Va. The move had been expected.

An official from Toronto has called Amazon's search for the second headquarters "the Olympics of the corporate world."

It's a unique situation of its kind and scale. Typically, cities and states vie for factories or offices behind the scenes. This time, Amazon's public solicitation of bids from essentially all major metropolitan areas in North America has prompted reporters and analysts across the continent to run their own odds on potential winners.

What's at stake?

Galloping Ghost, one of the largest video-game arcades in the world, sits in an unassuming, single story brick building in Brookfield, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, that seems to go on forever, each corner bursting with beeping, blinking and flashing arcade cabinets.

Owner Doc Mack says they have more than 600 games. He says he didn't set out have quite that many.

"I have a huge collecting problem that I've had since childhood so I should have seen it coming, but who knew?" Mack asks rhetorically.

Wenner Media, the company founded by publisher Jann Wenner, is selling its controlling stake in the iconic music and culture magazine Rolling Stone, citing a desire "to best position the brand for future growth."

The news comes one year after Wenner Media sold 49 percent of Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a digital music company based in Singapore.

In his latest tweet about North Korea, President Trump gave leader Kim Jong Un a new nickname — "Rocket Man" — and seems to indicate he thinks sanctions on the country are working: "Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!" Trump wrote.

But are they, really? And what, if anything, could that tell us about the North Korean economy right now?

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The "Dieselgate" scandal may have dented Volkswagen sales in the U.S., but demand remains strong for two VW products: classic Beetles and vintage buses. Collectors are pushing up prices of both. A small body shop in Williamsport, Md., has played a part in that. Cooker's Restoration & Fabrication takes vehicles that look like they're headed for the scrap heap and turns them into showpieces.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A couple of high-tech entrepreneurs thought they'd put a personable name on an impersonal product.

Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, formerly of Google, unveiled a box this week with glass doors, stocked with nonperishable items, that people can unlock with their cellphones while a camera records what they take and charges them.

It's essentially a tech-connected vending machine. But the entrepreneurs chose a name for their venture that many people found offensive: Bodega.

Pages