Business & Education

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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Environment
3:47 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Interior Secretary Wants To Create Jobs For Conservationists

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work in National Parks and forests in the Civilian Conservation Corps. President Obama's Secretary of the Interior wants to bring back that spirit, to create jobs and a new generation of conservationists.

But as NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, it's not the easiest thing to do in tight budget times.

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Politics
3:45 am
Thu January 9, 2014

50 Years Later, How The Politics Of Poverty Evolved

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

This week, and in the coming year, we're marking the anniversary of a famous declaration. It's been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson called for an unconditional war on poverty in his first State of the Union Address after the assassination of President Kennedy.

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Business
3:35 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Macy's To Cut Jobs, Close Stores In Reorganization

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with layoffs at Macy's.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Macy's has announced it's letting go 2,500 employees and closing five stores as part of a major reorganization. The company says it will save $100 million a year with the changes. It will also move hundreds of employees to its other department stores and to the company's online operation.

Politics
3:34 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Sen. Rubio Proposes States Fight Poverty With Federal Funds

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida delivers a speech on reforming antipoverty programs on the 50th Anniversary of President Johnson's declaration of the "War on Poverty."
Kevin Dietsch UPI/Landov

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

It was a two-step move for Republicans at the Capitol Wednesday: to both praise the sentiment of the War on Poverty – but also to critique it.

"We are here to mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's declaration of the War on Poverty," said Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida. "And while this war may have been launched with the best of intentions, it's clear we're now engaged in a battle for attrition."

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