NPR's business news starts with new rules for Glaxo.
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WERTHEIMER: The head of British - the British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, told The New York Times yesterday that the company will stop paying doctors to promote its drugs. Pharmaceutical firms commonly pay physicians to speak at medical conferences - a practice criticized as a conflict of interest.
And today's last word in business is a Christmas con.
Just when we want to be thinking about generosity around the holidays, a story of extortion.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Police in Italy have arrested four alleged mafia gangsters for forcing shop owners to buy poinsettias for as much as $140 each. Owners who refused to partake in the Christmas special would have their shops vandalized.
Democrats in Congress are promising to try to retroactively extend emergency unemployment benefits after the new year. With the House already in recess, the benefits are expected to expire at the end of the month.
The Senate is still in Washington working on a bipartisan budget agreement passed by the House before it left town last week, but the bill does not include a benefits extension.
Many economists and investors think there's a good chance that at the end of their two-day meeting that begins Tuesday, Federal Reserve policymakers will announce that they'll begin reducing their $85 billion monthly stimulus, their third round of quantitative easing, or QE3.
The analysts think recent economic data, like a drop in the unemployment rate to 7 percent and a budget deal in Washington, have brightened the outlook for the economy enough that the Fed can pull back.
Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:00 pm
At the moment, Washington fiscal policy is a good news, bad news story.
The good news is that the budget agreement, overwhelmingly passed by the House last week in a bipartisan vote, is likely to be approved by the Senate this week. That takes another costly government shutdown off the table.
The bad news? Another debt ceiling fight, with all the attendant risks of a U.S. government default, appears to be right around the corner.
This week the Fed's influential Open Market Committee meets to discuss some unfinished business. With Chairman Ben Bernanke getting ready to turn things over to Janet Yellen, Fed policymakers must decide whether it's time to start winding down the "quantitative easing" program put in place years ago to protect the recovery.
Now we're going to look ahead at emerging trends in the auto industry and what kinds of cars we'll be seeing in 2014. I'm joined by Dan Neil. He's automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Dan, welcome back to the program.
DAN NEIL: Hi, Melissa.
BLOCK: And we just heard U.S. automakers have managed to turn it around. I'm curious to hear whether there's one new car coming out that you think really captures that turnaround.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour with a number. That number is 50. It's for our new series Number of the Year, where we explore the numbers that tell the story of 2013, numbers about same sex marriage, the minimum wage, Syria, even pandas. Today's number tells the story of a rebound in the U.S. auto industry.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Tuscaloosa schools officials say some students are awaiting new textbooks as winter break approaches. Assistant Superintendent, Elizabeth Davis, told the Tuscaloosa News the district's textbook committee was unable to find math books that matched new college and career readiness standards for middle and high school students. Pupils have been using old math books for part of the year. The committee found new textbooks in September, but the publisher faced a shipping backlog because other school systems ordered the same materials.