Business & Education

Code Switch
11:52 am
Tue January 7, 2014

8 Reasons Why The Rent Is Too Damn High

Housing costs keep climbing, and outpacing many people's ability to afford them. But the reasons why are complex and interrelated, which means it's a problem with no simple solution.
Kevin Dooley Flickr

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 5:09 pm

In the comments section of a recent Code Switch post, a reader named Aboubacar Ndiaye gave a long but thoughtful explanation for the many reasons why housing costs are rising, and why there's no easy solution to the problem. He was gracious enough to expand on his thoughts in this commentary.

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The Salt
10:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Smithfield Prods Its Pork Suppliers To Dump Pig Crates

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 3:55 pm

Smithfield, the world's largest hog and pork buyer, announced Tuesday that it's asking the independent farmers with whom it has contracts to get rid of stalls for pregnant sows to improve the animals' living conditions.

To nudge these farmers to make the changes to their facilities by 2022, Smithfield is offering to extend their contracts once they've converted their gestational stalls into group houses, which are generally considered more humane.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Tue January 7, 2014

JPMorgan Chase To Pay $1.7 Billion To Madoff Victims

Bernard L. Madoff in 2009.
Timothy Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 3:30 pm

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The bank will be criminally charged with two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and will admit to the violations. But under the agreement, the bank will receive a deferred prosecution.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Senate Votes To Move Ahead On Extending Unemployment Benefits

President Obama listens as Katherine Hackett of Moodus, Conn., speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:25 pm

This post was updated at 12:00 p.m. ET.

A three-month extension of federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless Americans won a key procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

The 60-37 vote indicates there's enough Republican support to move the Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which expired on Dec. 28, forward to a full vote. As The Associated Press writes, the measure "is the leading edge of a Democratic program that also includes raising the minimum wage and closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations."

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Business & Education
6:07 am
Tue January 7, 2014

UA Geologist to get White House honor

Whitehouse.gov

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — President Barack Obama has named University of Alabama geologist Samantha Hansen as one of the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The awards recognize scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. The University of Alabama said Hansen is using energy signals from earthquakes to better understand how the Transantarctic mountain range was formed across Antarctica.

Business
3:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

In 2012, Health Care Costs Grow More Slowly Than U.S. Economy

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I'm David Greene.

We have been hearing for, well, what feels like forever about skyrocketing health care costs. It's at the center of debates in Washington and state capitals. And many people feel the impact on their wallets and pocketbooks. But here's this reality: Spending on health care, while still going up, appears to be rising more slowly. 2012 was the fourth straight year of modest growth.

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NPR Story
3:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Colo. Marijuana Merchants Forced To Deal Mostly In Cash

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business today is: cash only.

Colorado's retailers may be allowed to sell marijuana now, but under federal law, the state's banks cannot knowingly do business with them.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This has forced marijuana merchants in the state to operate almost solely in cash. Denver's city council, not happy. They called yesterday for Washington to change the law.

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NPR Story
3:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Microsoft Reveals 'Epic' Xbox Sales

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with console sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Microsoft announced sales of its new Xbox One topped three million units by the end of 2013. In a blog post, the company called it the most epic launch of Xbox, by all measures.

The third-generation console was available a week before Thanksgiving. It's been competing with Sony's new baby, Playstation 4, which also launched in November. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Class Trumps Race When It Comes To Internet Access

Smartphones offer a way for lower-income people who don't have broadband access at home to connect to the Internet.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:56 am

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that age and income play a larger role than race when it comes to high-speed Internet access. Lower-income African-Americans often buy smartphones to compensate for not having a broadband connection at home. Smartphones, however, may not be enough.

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All Tech Considered
5:21 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

CES 2014: Toothbrush? Bed? Car? Put Some Internet On It

The Kolibree toothbrush, billed as the world's first Internet-connected toothbrush, monitors dental hygiene.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 10:18 am

The International Consumer Electronics Show is nothing less than a gadget-lover's dream.

Every year thousands of companies from all over the world flock to Las Vegas in the first week in January to show off the products they hope to sell in the coming year. What began as a trade show featuring the latest high-fidelity stereos 40 years ago has become an annual electronics circus.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate has approved Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. At a ceremony commemorating the Fed's centennial last month, Yellen sat with (from left-to-right) former chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan, and current Fed leader Ben Bernanke.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:13 pm

The Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. With Monday's vote, Yellen, 67, will become the first woman to serve as America's banking chief, heading an institution that was established in 1913.

Update at 6:31 p.m. ET: Some Senators Left Out

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Politics
4:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tighter Access To 'Death Master File' Has Researchers Worried

To help cut down on fraud, Congress is limiting access to the Social Security Administration's data about people who die in the United States each year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:51 am

The "Death Master File." It sounds like a ledger the Grim Reaper might keep, but in reality, it's a computerized list containing some 86 million names and other data kept by the Social Security Administration.

An obscure provision tucked into the budget deal that Congress approved last month would limit access to the list — and that has everyone from genealogists to bankers concerned.

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Shots - Health News
4:43 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 3:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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Hard Times at the Mill
2:14 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Hard Times at the Mill: International Paper to Close Courtland Facility

International Paper Job Fair
Stan Ingold

  A north Alabama county is about it lose its biggest employer.  International Paper says it’s closing the paper mill in Lawrence County after forty three years of operation. After the first round of layoffs we take a look at how the town of Courtland and the residents are doing.

Courtland Alabama has a population of around seven hundred people and one big employer. The International Paper mill provided jobs to over a thousand Lawrence County workers, but according to International Paper spokeswoman Laura Gipson that is about to change…

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The Two-Way
1:16 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Boeing Delivers Record Number Of Jetliners In 2013

A Boeing 787-9 lands after its first flight on September 17, 2013 at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. The aircraft maker delivered 65 of the new jetliners last year.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Boeing delivered a record 648 commercial jetliners last year, including 65 of its newest 787s and also had a record backlog of 5,080 unfulfilled orders.

The 2013 deliveries were expected to keep Boeing in the No. 1 slot for the second year, nudging out rival Airbus, which is expecting to report 620 deliveries.

"The Boeing team performed extremely well in 2013," CEO Ray Conner said.

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