Business & Education

The Salt
4:19 am
Fri December 13, 2013

USDA Steps Up The Fight To Save Florida's Oranges

Oranges ripen in a Plant City, Fla., grove on Wednesday. Growers in Florida, Texas and California are worried about citrus greening, a disease that makes the fruit bitter and unmarketable.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:52 am

The citrus industry is facing a crisis. It's called citrus greening — a disease that has devastated orange production in Florida since it first showed up eight years ago. Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a new effort to try to control the disease before it destroys the nation's citrus industry.

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The Two-Way
8:11 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Chinese Ag Scientists Charged With Stealing Patented Seeds

Two agricultural scientists from China have been accused of trying to steal patented seeds from a biopharmaceutical company in Kansas.

Separately, six men from China, including the CEO of a seed corn subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate, were charged Thursday with conspiring to steal patented seed corn from two of the nation's leading seed developers, prosecutors said Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

It wasn't immediately clear if the arrests were related, but The AP wrote of the group of six charged:

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

House Approves Budget Deal; Compromise Heads To Senate

House Speaker John Boehner leaves a news conference Thursday, after criticizing conservative groups that he said held too much sway in Republican politics, "pushing our members in places where they don't want to be."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:05 am

The House has approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015. A shutdown deadline had loomed for Jan. 15.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 also sets spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, which its backers say will add more stability to both the U.S. economy and the government's operations.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET: The Vote Tally

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Media
4:48 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Photojournalists Push White House For Better Access To Obama

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Reporters today gave White House press secretary Jay Carney a tough time over the way the administration controls President Obama's image, in this case literally by limiting the situations in which professional photojournalists get to take pictures of the president. News organizations have formally protested and NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us now to explain

Hey there, David.

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Shots - Health News
4:46 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Why Meningitis That Hit Princeton Is Hard To Beat With Vaccines

Developing a vaccine for meningitis B was tricky. Even the existing vaccine doesn't protect against all B strains.
Josef Muellek iStockphoto.com

There's been a lot of talk about meningitis B lately. That's the type responsible for outbreaks at Princeton and the University of California in Santa Barbara.

And it got us thinking. How come this form of the illness isn't fazed by the vaccines given routinely to most young people in the U.S.?

This week, Princeton is administering an imported vaccine not approved for general use in this country, with special permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Social Supermarkets A 'Win-Win-Win' For Europe's Poor

A customer scans the shelves at Community Shop, the U.K.'s first "social supermarket." The discount grocery stores are growing in popularity across Europe and are open exclusively to those in need.
Courtesy of Community Shop

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:57 pm

Somewhere between a food pantry and a traditional grocery store lies an opportunity to help feed those in need.

Enter "social supermarkets," a European model that offers discounted food exclusively to those in poverty. The stores have grown in popularity across the continent, and this week, the U.K. opened its first. Dubbed Community Shop, the store is located in an impoverished former mining town in South Yorkshire.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Rule Allowing In-Flight Phone Calls Clears First FCC Hurdle

A passenger checks his cellphone while boarding a flight in Boston. The Federal Communications Commission is proposing new rules to allow using cellphones for data and voice calls during airline flights.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:04 pm

Update at 4 p.m. ET: Commissioners Approve Rules Proposal

By a vote of 3-2, the FCC has approved the initial proposal to allow passengers on U.S. flights to use their cellphones for voice calls — something that's been forbidden on U.S. flights. The vote opens the door for further consideration by the commission's five members, as well as comments from the public.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sriracha Maker Told To Hold Its Sauce For 30 Days

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 11:14 am

Already under orders from a court to partially shut down production because of concerns that spicy smells from its Irwindale, Calif., plant are irritating neighbors' eyes, noses and throats, Huy Fong Foods has now been told it can't ship its Sriracha hot sauce until at least 30 days after bottling.

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Shots - Health News
9:15 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Tagging Along On A Wisconsin Man's Odyssey To Buy Insurance

Doug Normington is 58, self-employed, and has diabetes.
Courtesy of Doug Normington

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:47 pm

Enrollment is picking up in new health insurance marketplaces. But the 365,000 who've signed up as of November 30 is a fraction of just one high-visibility group – those whose previous insurance has been cancelled because it didn't meet Affordable Care Act standards.

They're people like Doug Normington, a 58-year-old self-employed videographer in Madison, Wis., who has struggled to buy new insurance since late October.

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Big Jump In Jobless Claims Blamed On Seasonal Factors

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:18 am

Data such as the weekly figures on jobless claims are supposed to be "seasonally adjusted" to account for temporary factors that aren't really connected to the underlying strength or weakness of the economy.

But Thursday morning's report seems to underscore how hard it can be to make such adjustments.

According to the Employment and Training Administration, there were 368,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week — far above the 300,000 applications the week before.

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Business
5:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Scotland's Royal Bank Fined For Violating Iran, Cuba Sanctions

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a bank writing another big check.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: The Royal Bank of Scotland was fined $100 million yesterday for violating American sanctions on Iran and Cuba. The bank had given its U.K. employees step-by-step instructions on how to keep transactions from being detected for sanctions violations.

Last year, the London-based banks Standard Chartered and HSBC also received fines for breaking U.S. sanctions. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
5:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

WestJet Plays Santa To Calgary-Bound Passengers

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:00 am

Passengers told a virtual Santa what they wanted before boarding their flights. While they were in the air, secret shoppers at their destination hit the stores. The passengers arrived in Calgary to find their gifts on the baggage carousel.

Economy
5:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

California Still Owes U.S. Billions For Unemployment

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

California, according to recent budget numbers, is slowly recovering from its years of multi-billion dollar budget deficits. The state is on track to turn a $2.5 billion budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. But that's general fund money. It does not address another gaping deficit. The state owes almost $10 billion to the federal government for money spent on unemployment benefits.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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Latin America
4:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Mexico's Patron Saint Is Also Its Hello Kitty

The Virgencita Plis character from Distroller in Mexico.
Distroller

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:52 pm

In Mexico, Dec. 12 is the day to celebrate the country's most revered religious icon: the Virgin of Guadalupe.

As many as 6 million pilgrims have made their way to the Mexican capital to pay homage to the country's patron saint on Thursday, and one woman has taken her devotion of the Virgin and turned it into a multimillion-dollar company.

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Shots - Health News
4:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.
Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:36 pm

Some of the biggest ski resorts anywhere lie in U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' Colorado district, dotting the peaks of Summit and Eagle counties, about a hundred miles west of Denver. The area has a high rate of uninsured people and also, it turns out, health plans that are much more expensive than similar plans in surrounding regions. So expensive that Polis, a Democrat, has asked the federal government to exempt some of his constituents from the requirement to buy health insurance.

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