Business & Education

The Record
2:59 am
Tue January 6, 2015

With Downloads In Decline, Can iTunes Adapt?

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs stands in front of a projection of iTunes at a presentation in 2004.
Ian Waldie Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 11:44 am

Apple's innovative iTunes music service is still the market leader in music downloads, but after more than a decade of growth, sales of music tracks on iTunes have been declining. Last year saw the largest drop in sales — 14 percent. The drop is attributed to the increasing popularity of streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. These services give fans access to millions of tracks from any Internet-connected device for a monthly fee or in return for listening to commercials.

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All Tech Considered
5:37 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

U.S. Credit Cards Tackle Fraud With Embedded Chips, But No PINs

To protect against fraud, U.S. banks will be issuing credit cards with small computer chips. But some experts say using a PIN to complete a transaction is more secure than a signature.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 10:00 am

This year, there will be an important change in the way Americans use their credit cards. More banks will be issuing cards with small computer chips, a move they say will protect against credit card fraud.

But banks are stopping short of another step that will make credit card usage even safer. And a lot of retailers aren't too happy about it.

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The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

SpaceX Plans A Perfect Landing

The massive first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is designed to return to earth.
SpaceX

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 7:09 am

Update at 6:46 a.m. ET. Launch Scrubbed:

Early on Tuesday, SpaceX scrubbed a scheduled launch, citing technical problems. The next possible attempt is Friday at 5:09 ET, NASA said.

Our Original Post Continues:

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Business
4:17 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Low Gas Prices Give SUV Sales A Boost, But Automakers Take Long View

Dodge Ram pickup trucks await customers Jan. 5 on the lot at Landmark Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Morrow, Ga. Buoyed by a resurgent economy, holiday sales, cheap gasoline and a love affair with pickup trucks, Americans headed to car dealers in droves last month, pushing full-year sales to what's likely to be the highest level since 2006.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 7:07 am

Sales of cars surged in December, and analysts believe that the year's total will exceed 17 million, making it the fifth straight year of growth for the industry.

Cheap gas prices helped make that happen, as sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury vehicles rose rapidly. Jeep's sales, for instance, were up 40 percent on increased consumer demand for crossover SUVs. Meanwhile, demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles shrank.

Scott Painter, founder and CEO of auto sales website TrueCar, says those trends aren't necessarily good for the industry as a whole.

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All Tech Considered
4:17 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Self-Tracking Gadgets That Play Doctor Abound At CES

The San Francisco-based startup CellScope has built a tool to do ear exams at home, instead of going to the doctor.
Cellscope

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:30 pm

When your kid's ear is throbbing at 2 a.m., you might want to grab the car keys and head to the emergency room. But now you can pick up your iPhone instead.

A startup called CellScope has built a little ear probe that you clip on top of your iPhone camera. The footage streams into an app where you can view the inside the ear.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Crude Oil Dips Under $50 A Barrel, A Price Last Seen In 2009

U.S. gasoline prices have fallen sharply since last summer, driven by surging oil production and other factors. The price for a barrel of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $50 Monday.
David N. Goodman AP

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 5:45 pm

The price for a barrel of U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell below $50 Monday, matching levels seen in the spring of 2009. The drop is linked to both OPEC's boosted production and a stronger dollar.

Oil's latest fall came along with a dip on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 330 points to finish at 17,501 — a drop of 1.86 percent that's also seen as a reaction to new instability in Europe.

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The Two-Way
2:01 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Report: St. Louis Rams Owner Plans New Stadium In LA

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 2:10 pm

The owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles, in a move that could see the team return to the city where it spent almost five decades.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that Stan Kroenke and the Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the 238-acre site in Inglewood, plan to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium. The site also includes space for retail, offices and residences.

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Business
10:04 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Housing In 2015: Four Reasons For Optimism (And One For Worry)

A builder works on the construction of new homes in Belmar, N.J. Increased hiring and a boost in consumer confidence are expected to lift the housing market this year.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 11:43 am

Six years ago, homebuilders and Realtors were facing brutal business conditions: millions of Americans were losing their jobs and homes.

As 2015 begins, hiring is strong and economic indicators are pointing up. Could this be the year when the housing market finally breaks out of its tepid recovery and takes off?

Economists see several reasons why 2015 might be a banner year for homebuying — and not just in San Francisco and Miami.

They also see One Big Factor that potentially could block a buying binge.

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Why The Euro Fell To A 9-Year Low Against The Dollar

The euro sank to a nine-year low Monday as new doubts surfaced about Greece's commitment to the common currency bloc.
Markus Schreiber AP

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 11:22 am

The euro fell today to a nine-year low against the dollar amid continuing doubts over Greece's future in the currency union and renewed prospects of monetary easing in the eurozone, the club of 19 EU countries that share the common currency.

The euro fell 1.2 percent against the dollar to $1.1864 — the lowest level since March 2006; it later recovered to $1.19370.

Here's why this is happening:

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The Salt
8:08 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Craft Brewers Are Running Out Of Names, And Into Legal Spats

With so many craft breweries now in operation, just about every beer name you can imagine is taken. That's making it harder for newcomers to name that brew without risking a legal fight.
Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 3:49 pm

Columbia? Taken. Mississippi? Taken. Sacramento? El Niño? Marlin? Grizzly? Sorry, they're all taken.

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Environment
4:02 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Entrepreneurs Find Ways To Make Money From Carbon Emissions

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 8:41 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Latin America
2:34 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Lacking Internet, Cubans Rely On 'The Package' For Entertainment

Young Cubans prepare their sticks to charge the latest internet "package" with films, television series, software and other similar stuff from foreign origin downloaded from the web.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 8:37 am

Cuba has promised its citizens better Internet access in this New Year. The few Cubans who now manage to get online find it expensive and slow.

Warming ties with the U.S. have stirred hope for improved telecommunications. But until then, many residents have devised an ingenious work-around, or should we say walk-around.

On Havana's Malecon, roaming guitarists play for the crowds resting against the iconic sea wall. In this nightly gathering spot, it's old fashioned interacting. No one is on a cell, no eyes glued to smart phones.

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Guilty And Charged
2:31 am
Mon January 5, 2015

How Driver's License Suspensions Unfairly Target The Poor

McArthur Edwards' driver's license was suspended for two years because he was unable to pay a $64 fine. He's using this bus stop to commute.
Joseph Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 9:21 am

This is the second of two stories. Read the first story here.

If you get caught drinking and driving in Wisconsin, and it's your first offense, you lose your license for nine months. For a hit-and-run, the punishment is suspension for one year.

But if you don't pay a ticket for a minor driving offense, such as driving with a broken tail light, you can lose your license for two years.

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Business
7:08 am
Sun January 4, 2015

Border Businesses Lose Bank Accounts Amid Money-Laundering Fears

La Roca restaurant in Nogales, Mexico, draws a mix of American tourists and locals. It used to have an American bank account and credit card until the bank closed the account.
Jude Joffe-Block KJZZ

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 5:53 pm

In the border town of Nogales, Mexico, the lunch crowd is settling in at La Roca restaurant. Its live music and traditional cuisine have made it a landmark for 43 years.

The prices are listed in dollars, and many of the diners come in from Arizona. The ownership is American, and so was the restaurant's bank account and credit card until a couple of months ago.

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The Salt
6:01 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Marketers Turn To Memories Of Sweeter Times To Sell Cereal

General Mills is bringing back the popular '90s cereal in a nod to nostalgia and in the hopes of boosting its weak cereal sales.
General Mills AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 9:54 am

The taste of foods from our childhood can trigger intense emotional reactions. It's a fact well known to students of French literature and marketing executives.

And it's changing the make-up of the cereal aisle. Thanks to the power of food nostalgia, General Mills is bringing back the sugary cereal French Toast Crunch.

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