Business & Education

Business
4:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Safety Group Sues Buckyballs Founder In Product Recall Case

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A federal government agency has taken and unusual step. They are suing the founder of a toy company over product safety concerns - and recently, he filed a countersuit. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Buckyballs - if you're not familiar with them - these are clusters of magnetized balls, are a serious danger to children.

Ilya Marritz from member station WNYC has the story.

ILYA MARRITZ, BYLINE: Call them brainteasers, amusements, or gifts for dad, just don't call these little magnetic beads a toy.

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Business
4:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Court Rules Yelp Must Release Names Of Reviewers

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:45 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our last word in business today is: Anonymous Reviews.

You know, those product reviews people write on Amazon or Yelp. Many customers rely on them and some people have even dramatized them online - like the actor who read this review by Shelley S. from the ratings website Yelp.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The food was sub-par for such a highly-rated restaurant. Overcooked fish, undercooked noodles, and one dish that wasn't labeled spicy was so hot that my father refused to eat it. I won't be going back to this particular PF Chang's.

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Economy
4:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Labor Department's December Report Shows Jobless Rate Dipped

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Supporters of a minimum wage say it can be especially important at a time of relatively high unemployment, when workers have little bargaining power. This morning we'll get a fresh snapshot of unemployment in the U.S. when the government releases new jobs numbers. NPR's Yuki Noguchi came by to talk about what to expect. Yuki, good morning.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So where does the job market seem to be going right now?

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Economy
4:01 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Minimum Wage Loses Ground Since Its Banner Year In 1968

Protesters rally outside of a Wendy's in Brooklyn, New York, on Dec. 5 in support of raising fast food wages from $7.25 to $15 per hour.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:45 am

This week, we've been looking back at the legacy of the "War on Poverty," launched by Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago. The arsenal included government programs such as Head Start, food stamps and a push to increase the nation's minimum wage.

"We must extend the coverage of our minimum wage laws to more than 2 million workers now lacking this basic protection of purchasing power," Johnson said.

Low-wage workers actually saw their purchasing power peak while Johnson was in office. Adjusting for inflation, minimum wage workers earn less today than they did in the late 1960s.

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The Two-Way
7:19 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Alcoa Will Pay $384 Million Penalty For Bahrain Bribes

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:05 am

In what's being called one of the largest U.S. anti-corruption settlements on record, Alcoa and an affiliate it controls have agreed to pay millions in fines and criminal and civil penalties. The companies acknowledge paying bribes to royal family members in Bahrain.

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The Salt
6:40 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Food Firms Trim Trillions Of Calories From Packaged Treats

To make a more healthful version of Edy's Grand Ice Cream, Nestle developed a technology that could cut half the fat and two-thirds of the calories from the frozen treat.
Erik S. Lesser Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:30 am

It sounds impressive: Major food companies have slashed 6.4 trillion calories from packaged foods they sold in 2012 compared with 2007, a study reported Thursday.

But for each American, that number translates to about 78 fewer calories purchased each day, or the equivalent of cutting out one apple or 3 1/2 Hershey's Kisses.

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Code Switch
4:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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Environment
4:52 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Natural Gas Boom Cuts Into Pennsylvania's State Forests

An oversized truck load slowly moves equipment along an icy mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest.
Marie Cusick WITF

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:36 pm

On the side of a mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest, I'm trying to avoid a steady stream of heavy truck traffic. Acres of freshly cut tree stumps stretch out in front of me.

Kevin Heatley lives in the area and has come to these woods for years to hike. He's an ecologist by trade and he's concerned about what he's seeing.

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Planet Money
4:22 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Every Job In America, In 1 Graph

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Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:50 am

Whatever Friday's monthly jobs report says, it won't change the big picture. There are roughly 137 million jobs in this country. About two-thirds of those jobs are in private-sector services; the remaining third are split between goods-producing jobs (mainly manufacturing and construction) and government work (mostly at the state and local level).

Here's a closer look, drawn from the same data that the government collects for the monthly jobs report. (You can see this data, in glorious detail, here.)

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Economy
4:14 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

$50 Billion Worth Of Tax Breaks Expire

Subsidies for wind farms were among the tax breaks that expired on Jan. 1.
Sandy Huffaker AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:36 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, a bevy of tax breaks expired in Washington D.C., everything from a tax benefit for people who commute to work using mass transit, to a subsidy for NASCAR racetracks. Some of these are probably less crucial for the national economy, but others are vital to the health of certain industries. At least that's what the businesses that benefit say, as NPR's Chris Arnold has been finding out.

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All Tech Considered
12:58 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Government Tech Problems: Blame The People Or The Process?

HealthCare.gov's failures are prompting a closer look at the federal government's out-of-date technology.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:37 pm

Thanks to epic problems with HealthCare.gov's rollout, the federal government's out-of-date technology processes have received more attention than most of us could have expected. The main doorway for millions of Americans to get health insurance was unusable for two months, but that screw-up is just one in a long line of government IT failures.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Watson, IBM's 'Jeopardy!' Champ, Gets Its Own Business Division

Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings, who won a record 74 consecutive games, concedes to supercomputer opponent Watson in February 2011.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:06 am

Ever wonder what happens to all those Jeopardy! champions once they leave the stage? Watson, an IBM supercomputer, got its own business division.

You might recall that Watson, named after longtime CEO Thomas J. Watson, crushed its human opponents on the popular television game show back in February 2011.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Thu January 9, 2014

More Slow-But-Steady News: Fewer Jobless Claims Filed

Looking for work in Florida. At a November career fair in West Palm Beach, this man had a job application in hand.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:15 am

There were 330,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down 15,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The claims data are the last bits of evidence about how the labor market is doing before Friday's scheduled release of figures on the December unemployment rate and payroll growth.

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Economy
4:09 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Why Boeing Contract Has Implications For The Middle Class

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:21 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Workers at Boeing were in a difficult spot last week. Their employer offered a new contract cutting back retirement and health benefits. It came with what looked like a threat. The company said it might have to move important operations out of Washington State and hire new workers. Union members approved the contract, barely, and Boeing is staying put.

Journalist Hedricks Smith written about the decline of the middle-class. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, he says Boeing just contributed to that.

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Economy
4:04 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Global Recession Hits Puerto Rico Hard

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:21 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

The global recession hit Puerto Rico hard and left its budget in shambles. But some optimists say they can help solve the island's economic problems from the bottom-up.

Tim Fitzsimons reports from San Juan.

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